Trial advocacy programs prepare future lawyers for work in courtrooms by developing the skillsets necessary to be effective litigators, often through mock trial simulations. Most law schools offer at least a mock trial elective, but several schools have developed a national reputation for their extensive and exceptional trial advocacy offerings. If you envision a career as a trial attorney, you may want to consider the following schools in your law school search.
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Here are the top 10 law schools for trial advocacy as ranked by U.S. News and World Report, along with the median LSAT scores and median undergraduate GPAs of recently enrolled students.
9. (tie) South Texas College of Law Houston
According to the school, “South Texas College of Law Houston is one of only three in the nation consistently ranked in the to 10 for trial advocacy by U.S. News & World Report.” The school has won more than 130 national advocacy championships, more than twice as many as any other U.S. law school. South Texas College of Law Houston also runs an annual mock trial tournament, and sends interested students to mock trial competitions nationally and internationally.
Students who enrolled at South Texas College of Law in fall 2019 had a median LSAT score of 153 and a median undergraduate GPA of 3.15.
9. (tie) Fordham University
Trial advocacy at Fordham University School of Law is housed in the Brendan Moore Trial Advocacy Center. 2Ls and 3Ls participate in workshops, classes, and programs through the center, and students can compete to become a Moore Advocate. Moore Advocates represent Fordham at national trial competitions, traveling to about 20 each year. The teams (each is made up of 4 students) are coached by practicing attorneys, most of whom are alumni of the school and the Moore Advocate program. Additionally, the center hosts one national, and one intraschool, competition annually.
The Fordham University School of Law Class of 2021 had a median LSAT score of 164 and a median undergraduate GPA of 3.60.
Located in Sacramento, California, The University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law offers law students a Trial & Appellate Advocacy Certificate of Concentration. Students pursuing the concentration must take the school’s Trial Advocacy course and participate in a clinic or externship that has a litigation or dispute resolution focus, as well as taking additional related electives of their choice. The Center for Advocacy & Dispute Resolution has run training programs internationally and supports McGeorge’s mock trial and moot court teams.
McGeorge students entering in Fall 2018 had a median LSAT score of 153 and a median undergraduate GPA of 3.34.
Denver Law’s Center for Advocacy prepares students for courtroom careers through a broad range of classes and practical experience opportunities in four areas of advocacy: Trial Advocacy, Pre-Trial Advocacy, Appellate Advocacy, and Client Advocacy. Students learn the fundamentals in introductory courses in their 1L year, gain experience from simulation as 2Ls, and get hands-on real-world practice through externships and clinical opportunities in their third year. Denver Law’s Trial Team travels to about 10 national tournaments annually, and the Center for Advocacy sponsors several moot court teams that also compete on a national level.
The Sturm College of Law Class of 2022 had a median LSAT score of 159 and a median undergraduate GPA of 3.49.
The Trial Advocacy Program at Chicago-Kent was one of the first in the country when it was founded in 1971 and has long been known for its small class sizes—the current student/teacher ratio in trial advocacy classes at Chicago-Kent does not exceed 12:1. Today, the program offers a range of trial advocacy courses and supports several trial teams that compete nationally. The school has won the National Trial Competition four times.
The Chicago-Kent Class of 2021 had a median LSAT score of 157 and a median undergraduate GPA of 3.44.
5. (tie) American University
American University Washington College of Law’s Trial Advocacy Program offers students courses and specialty programs to prepare them for a litigation career. Students can join one of three competition teams—the Mock Trial Honor Society, the Moot Court Honor Society, or the Alternative Dispute Resolution Society—which compete nationally. American University runs three annual competitions, hosting teams from around the country. For lawyers interested in pursuing an advanced degree, the Trial Advocacy Program offers an Advocacy LLM and additional education opportunities through its intensive summer program.
The Class of 2022 had a median undergraduate GPA of 3.50 and a median LSAT score of 159.
According to the school, “Loyola places a strong emphasis on skills training to better equip students for a competitive job market after graduation.” Its 13 moot court and trial advocacy teams have collectively won more than 100 competitions locally, nationally, and internationally. Some of the experiential training opportunities are highly specialized. For example, Loyola has an Entertainment Moot solely dedicated to developing students’ entertainment litigation skills, and the school’s Williams Institute hosts the only national competition solely focused on gender identity and sexuality law.
Recently enrolled students at Loyola Law School had a median LSAT score of 160 and a median undergraduate GPA of 3.57.
Temple’s Beasley School of Law offers introductory, intensive, and advanced courses in civil and criminal trial advocacy. Its Integrated Trial Advocacy Program is a year-long, 4-course program that students can elect to complete along with four other advocacy and litigation courses to receive a Certificate in Trial Advocacy and Litigation. Temple’s trial team has a fierce national reputation and students can earn academic credit if they are chosen for the team. Practicing lawyers who have already completed their JD can pursue an LLM in Trial Advocacy.
The Beasley Class of 2022 had a median undergraduate GPA of 3.56 and a median LSAT score of 161.
Baylor’s Trial Advocacy program has ranked in the top 5 on this list every year since 2010. The trial advocacy curriculum at the Waco, Texas school is known for its rigor, and all students are required to enter Practice Court as 3Ls, known as the “Marine Corps of law school,” according to the school. Practice Court consists of four courses over three quarters during which students try court cases from start to finish. Baylor’s Moot Court and Mock Trial teams compete nationally, and the school hosts the Top Gun National Mock Trial Competition, a mock trial competition for the sixteen best trial advocacy teams in the nation.
The Baylor Law Class of 2022 had a median LSAT score of 161 and a median undergraduate GPA of 3.64.
Stetson’s Center for Excellence in Advocacy not only trains its JD students in vital advocacy skills, but also offers online video presentations to outside audiences. Stetson students interested in litigation careers can take advantage of specializations in advocacy, graduating with a Certification of Concentration in Advocacy or a Certificate of Concentration in Social Justice Advocacy. Students can gain practical real-world experience through the Tampa Prosecution Clinic, the Public Defender Clinic, or the Pinellas Prosecution Clinic. Stetson also offers a dual JD/LLM program in advocacy, which can be completed in as little as three years.
The Stetson Class of 2022 had a median LSAT score of 155 and a median undergraduate GPA of 3.3.
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