As Advocacy Teaching Fellow at LSU Law, Annie Scardulla spends a lot of time with students, working with them on their trial advocacy skills, coaching moot court teams and traveling with them to competitions, and mentoring students through the Fit to Practice Program that she created shortly after joining the faculty three years ago.
“That’s one of the greatest things about my position, I really get the chance to work closely with students and I get to know them on a level that’s so much deeper than a surface level,” says Scardulla, who graduated from LSU Law in 2014 and served as president of the Moot Court Board during her final year in law school. “That’s really the part of the job that I cherish.”
So when Scardulla recently got an email informing her that students at the Paul M. Hebert Law Center had voted her LSU Law Professor of the Year, she sat down and cried.
“I was shocked and very, very moved,” she says. “I just couldn’t believe it. It’s such a huge honor.”
The honor especially touched Scardulla because it comes as she prepares to join the University of North Carolina School of Law as an assistant professor in August. Her last day with LSU Law is June 12.
“My experience at LSU Law has fundamentally changed my life and it’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me—so that made it hit home even more,” she says. “I’ve always seen my position as having a somewhat limited impact on students, because aside from my work with the advocacy programs I only teach legal writing to one section of students each year. Getting an honor like this really made me realize that maybe I’ve had a broader impact on the students than I thought.”
Prior to joining the LSU Law faculty, Scardulla practiced for three years in New Orleans and Covington, primarily in product liability cases. Her experiences as a new lawyer inspired her to create the Fit to Practice Program at LSU Law, an annual nine-part workshop series open to all LSU Law and Southern Law students that is focused on the young attorney’s role in civil litigation case management and attorney well-being.
The Advocacy Teaching Fellow is a transition position by design, with the contract typically lasting for two to three years maximum. Though Scardulla won’t be directly involved in the advocacy program at UNC, she is thrilled to be getting the opportunity to teach legal writing full time—and she isn’t ruling out a return to LSU Law later in her career.
“LSU will always be my home,” says the Hammond native.
As for what she’ll miss most at LSU Law, Scardulla says traveling with moot court teams and watching them compete is at the top of a long list.
“Another thing I’m really going to miss is working with Professor (Jeffrey) Brooks,” she says. “He’s been an incredible mentor to me and without his guidance I wouldn’t have this incredible opportunity.”
Professor Brooks, director of LSU Law’s Advocacy Programs and Field Placement Program, calls Scardulla a “fearless innovator and remarkable teacher” and notes she coached several national championship moot court teams.
“LSU Law, our Advocacy Programs, students, coaches and I are all so much better for having had Annie Scardulla with us as a coach, mentor, teacher and—above all—a lifelong friend,” he says.
Typically, the LSU Law Professor of the Year gets the honor of partaking in the hooding ceremony at commencement. This year’s commencement has been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, but Scardulla says she’ll definitely be back in Baton Rouge for commencement when it’s rescheduled.
“I wouldn’t miss it for the world,” she says.