Without precedent, The Advocacy Department at the Sturm College of Law burst onto the national rankings scene by receiving an 11th Place ranking in U.S. News & World Report’s annual national evaluation of all law schools and their major departments. The three and a half year old department, a “toddler” by most comparative standards, had never previously been bestowed a position in the rankings. Thus, catapulting to such an esteemed position and receiving such national recognition was welcome news. It was further validation of the law school’s success as it surges ahead, under the direction of Dean Marty Katz and Academic Dean Fred Cheever, to effectively teach professional skills to its students who will one day “Take the Oath.”
In its short existence, The Advocacy Department has seen its National Trial Team advance to the National Championships for its third year in a row, while its moot-based teams (Vis, Jessup, Environmental, ABA) continue to excel in their respective arenas as well. These achievements are in addition to the department’s establishment of innovative courses and programs such as “The Mentor’s Practicum”, a summer “Advocacy Academy” to help area high school students develop their critical thinking skills and professional communication skills, and most of all, a series of lab-based courses, known as the “Day One” series (Day 1 Civil, Day 1 Criminal, Day 1 Domestic), which are designed to escort law school students through every major pleading, discovery, and dispositional stage in the life of a case.
The most exciting aspect is, the department is still in its beginning stages of it development, with much more growth and creativity to follow. As the department’s director, David Schott, was quoted to say, “The validation from US News is very encouraging for such a young department and all of the students, faculty, adjuncts, and alumni, who are devoting their time, energy and creativity. So far everything we’ve accomplished has been just one small step for humankind, but one giant leap for people who like to argue.”
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