Teaching the Next Generation of Trial Lawyers: Designing Trial Advocacy Programs to Meet the Demands of the ABA and the Profession

May 31, 2024

Kimball R. and Karen Gatsis Anderson Center for Advocacy and Professionalism 
Spring 2024 Symposium

 Legal education continues to evolve to meet the demands of the profession. As recently noted by the American Bar Association (ABA), all lawyers will “possess very broad discretion when exercising professional judgment to fulfill responsibilities to clients, the legal system, and the quality of justice, and the rules also recognize that the lawyer has a personal interest in being an ethical person who makes a satisfactory living.” To ensure law schools are developing attorneys prepared for these challenges, the ABA recently amended its rules to require law schools provide opportunities for their students to develop professional identities and to provide education on bias, cross-cultural competence, and racism. These requirements are in addition to the ABA’s recent discussion of increasing the number of experiential credits students must take to graduate from 6 hours to potentially 15 hours.

But how will law schools meet these requirements? Doctrinal classes are likely to fall short and clinical offerings cannot be expected to carry the load alone. This symposium explores how law school trial advocacy programs can evolve to fill the gap. Specifically, it looks at how trial advocacy programs can be designed to assist students in forming their professional identities and in receiving extensive and practical education on bias, cross-cultural competence, and racism. Similarly, it explores how trial advocacy programs can work with law school clinics to not only provide more robust pro bono services, but also fulfill additional experiential learning hour requirements. To do so, this symposium pairs experts in professional identity formation, bias, cross-cultural competency, and racism, and clinical education with trial advocacy directors to establish best practices and begin a discussion on how to work together and design trial advocacy programs that are equipped to meet not just the demands of the ABA, but also the demands of the profession. 

Friday, May 31, 2024
8:00 a.m. – 3:40 p.m.
Winston & Strawn LLP
35 W. Wacker Drive
Chicago, Illinois, 60601

*Up to 5 hours of Illinois MCLE General Credit is pending approval.