The LSU Law Center Advocacy Programs provide students with ample opportunities to obtain and develop the skills necessary to become successful advocates and litigators. The Advocacy Programs encompass several highly regarded programs and courses that provide students the skills and practical experience needed for successful client advocacy, including a wide array of skills courses taught by experienced adjunct faculty, the Vinson & Elkins Trial Advocacy Program, LSU’s nationally-ranked advocacy competition programs, the Moot Court and Trial Advocacy Boards, and the American Inns of Court.
For more information on the Law Center’s Advocacy Programs, contact Professor Jeffrey Brooks, Preis PLC Director of Advocacy and Professional Practice.
The Law Center is fortunate to have a strong and talented roster of adjunct faculty, who bring decades of litigation and practice experience to the many skills courses offered at the Law Center. Skills courses are simulation courses with limited enrollment, providing students with intensive advocacy skills development opportunities in a classroom setting. Students participating in one of the Law Center’s skills courses may be asked to draft a complaint, argue a motion, prepare a will, write and argue an appellate brief, put on a full trial, conduct jury voir dire, or mediate a series of negotiations. Skills courses offered in recent years include Advanced Appellate Advocacy, Trial Advocacy, Advanced Legal Research, Advanced Litigation Practice, Advanced Trial and Evidence I and II, Business Transactions Workshop, Civil and Family Law Mediation, Criminal Litigation Practice, Law Office Practice, and Legal Negotiations.
Vinson-Elkins Trial Advocacy Program
The Vinson-Elkins Trial Advocacy Program is an intensive, three-day training session the week before classes begin in the third year. Required of all students, it covers every aspect of trial practice, from jury selection through closing argument. Sponsored by the National Institute of Trial Advocacy, it features some of America’s most outstanding trial lawyers and judges, who work in small groups with the participants and provide one-on-one skills development opportunities.
The Law Center Advocacy Programs are the largest advocacy competition program in the United States. Law Center teams compete at twenty-seven different moot court (appellate advocacy), trial advocacy, and alternative dispute resolution competitions across the United States. These competitions provide students with some of the most intensive and rigorous skills development available to law students. Working under the direct supervision of faculty and practitioner coaches, each team spends weeks preparing for its individual competition. The Advocacy Programs also sponsor a series of workshops and boot camps for student competitors, providing them with additional training and development.
The Law Center’s competition program has been ranked as one of the top 50 appellate advocacy programs in the United States. Student teams have won multiple national championships, including championships at the National Environmental Law Moot Court Competition, the National Taxation Moot Court Competition, and the National Pre-Trial Advocacy Competition. LSU teams have also won dozens of awards for Best Individual Advocate and Best Brief, and have won regional championships several years running at a number of competitions.
Through the student-run Moot Court and Trial Advocacy Boards, the Law Center sponsors six different competitions that are open only to LSU Law students. These competitions provide another avenue for students to hone their advocacy skills.
The Robert Lee Tullis Moot Court Competition is an appellate advocacy competition open only to second-year students. Named in honor of the late dean emeritus of the Law Center, the Tullis Competition has been a tradition at the Law Center since the 1930s. Participating students submit briefs and offer oral arguments in a hypothetical United States Supreme Court case to panels of distinguished alumni and judges. The victors of this competition have their names inscribed on a ceremonial plaque outside the Robinson Courtroom in the Law Center.
Each semester, the Law Center also sponsors the Ira S. Flory Mock Trial Competitions, named in honor of Professor Flory, who was on the faculty of the Law Center for 36 years. Participating students, who must be in their second or third year, present a full criminal trial in the fall semester and a full civil trial in the spring semester.
The Advocacy Programs also sponsor the LSU Arbitration Competition, which simulates a commercial arbitration proceeding before a panel of experienced arbitrators. Providing students skills in alternative dispute resolution, the Arbitration Competition is open to all second and third year students.
Finally, third-year students are eligible to compete in the Chancellor’s Cup Senior Appellate Challenge. This competition provides “senior” students the opportunity to argue a series of real cases currently pending before the United States Supreme Court in a series of individual elimination rounds. Students argue on the real briefs submitted to the Court to panels of experienced state and federal judges, and the ultimate victor is awarded the Chancellor’s Cup.
Moot Court Board
Membership on the Moot Court Board is an academic honor awarded to those third-year students who excelled in the Robert Lee Tullis Moot Court Competition. Membership on the Moot Court Board is an incentive to promote professional advocacy skills among the student body and provide a method of training in independent research, brief writing and oral advocacy. The Moot Court Board assists in practice oral arguments for freshman students, preparation of the following year Tullis Moot Court Competition problem, and providing logistical support for other interschool moot court programs and competitions.
Trial Advocacy Board
Similar to the Moot Court Board, membership on the Trial Advocacy Board is an academic honor awarded to those students who have demonstrated commitment to and excellence in trial advocacy and alternative dispute resolution. The Trial Advocacy Board organizes the Ira S. Flory Trial Competitions and Arbitration Competition and the teams that represent the Law Center in national and regional competitions.
Inns of Court
The Law Center is fortunate to be associated with two of the American Inns of Court, the Wex Malone Inn of Court and the Dean Henry George McMahon Inn of Court. The Inns of Court are one of the fastest-growing legal organizations in the country. Today, there are more than 25,000 judges and lawyers actively participating in Inns of Court nationwide, and there are also more than 69,000 judges and lawyers who are alumni of an Inn. The Inn meets approximately once a month both to “break bread” and to hold skills workshops, mentoring programs, and discussions on matters of ethics, skills and professionalism. Membership in the Inn provides students with excellent networking opportunities, access to professional skills workshops, and the possibility of being matched with attorney mentors who are skilled in assisting attorneys entering the legal market.
Membership in the Malone Inn is offered to those students who excel in the Vinson-Elkins Trial Advocacy Workshop, and membership in the McMahon Inn is offered to students who have demonstrated outstanding achievement in appellate and trial advocacy.
Student Bar Association
The SBA is the liaison between the law students and the law school administration. The association promotes and coordinates student activities within the Law Center and serves as an instructional medium for postgraduate bar association activities. The SBA comprises all students in the Law Center.
The Order of the Coif
Each year, the local chapter elects to membership from the highest 10 percent of the senior class those students who are deemed qualified. Election to The Order of the Coif is the highest honor a law student may receive. The Louisiana chapter of The Order of the Coif, a national honorary law fraternity, was established in 1942. Its purpose is to stimulate scholarly work of the highest order and foster and promote a high standard of professional conduct.
Louisiana Law Review
The Louisiana Law Review was established to encourage legal scholarship in the student body, act as an incentive to and provide a method of training in individual research, contribute to the development of the law by scholarly criticism and analysis, foster the study of civil and comparative law, and serve the bar of the state by comments on and discussion of current cases and legal problems. It is edited by a board of student editors, with faculty cooperation. The Law Review selects student editors by considering first-year academic performance and participation in an annual writing competition.
Michelle Renee’ Shamblin, a 2009 graduate and member of the Law Review, was awarded the 2009 Scribes Law-Review Award for her article, Silencing Chicken Little: Options for School Districts after “Parents Involved.” She is the first student in the history of the Law Center to receive the national award.
Journal of Energy Law and Resources
The Journal of Energy Law and Resources (JELR) is a student edited academic journal focusing broadly on energy and its relationship to other areas of law. The JELR was created to promote the study of energy law and the effects of technological innovation on a local, national and international level. Student editors are selected annually by considering participation in an annual write-on competition and academic performance, and all students interested in energy law are encouraged to participate in the competition.