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Advocacy Skills

Advocacy Skills Training

Syracuse University College of Law was honored with the Emil Gumpert Award for the best law school advocacy program in the United States by the American College of Trial Lawyers.

The New York State Bar Association cited Syracuse Law as the best trial skills law school in New York State 10 times in recent years by awarding the College its coveted Tiffany Cup.

Mock Trial Competition

Trial Practice

Trial practice courses are popular elective offerings among College of Law students. In beginning and advanced courses, experienced trial lawyers, judges, and college faculty members teach elements of trial process and techniques. Simulated trials take place in the college's state-of-the-art practice courtrooms. Advanced trial practice courses concentrate on the communicative aspects of litigation, including jury selection, expert witness examination, direct and cross-examination, and summation. Trial practice courses culminate in simulated jury trials, with students demonstrating skills learned during the semester.

Moot Court

A strong moot court program is an important part of legal training at Syracuse University College of Law. The student-run Moot Court Honor Society selects problems for the many intraschool competitions and invites students to compete in briefing and oral argument. Students who are selected for the competitions must prepare both sides of the case because a flip of the coin decides who argues each side in the actual competition.

The Lionel O. Grossman Trial Competition, held each fall, culminates in a championship moot court trial presided over by a distinguished jurist and a jury of the area's leading trial attorneys. In the spring the appellate advocacy program culminates in the Mackenzie Lewis Competition, in which finalists argue an appellate problem before a distinguished panel of nationally noted jurists and lawyers.

Because of its extensive advocacy skills program, Syracuse dominates national moot court competitions. In the past 16 years, its teams have won 3 national trial championships, 15 northeast regional first place awards, and 5 best-advocate-in-the-nation awards. In 1997 the college's National Trial Team tied for fifth in the nation in two national championships. In each competition Syracuse met the ultimate champions and defeated them. Five times in the past 9 years Syracuse Law has been invited to the National Invitational Tournament of Champions, featuring the nation's 12 best teams. Syracuse has won other national awards in appellate, minority rights, and international tax competitions during the past two decades.

International Moot Court Competitions

Syracuse law students participate annually in a host of international moot court competitions. Working closely with faculty coaches, year after year the select group of students continues to uphold the quality reputations of previous classes.

Students can choose to specialize in international law as early as their first year by being selected for a special section of the Legal Communications and Research course. Eight students from this course participate in an interschool moot court competition. In 1993 Syracuse University College of Law students won first place at the international law competition in Toronto. In 1996 the team placed second and one team member was named best oral advocate among the 48 participants. Syracuse won first place in 2003 with one of the team's oralists winning a best oralist award; and Syracuse placed second in 2005.

Moot Court Winners

The 38th annual Mackenzie Hughes LLP Moot Court competition was held in Hendricks Chapel on April 19. The annual competition is organized by the Moot Court Honor Society and is named after alumnus Hon. Edmund H. Lewis L'1909, who served as Chief Judge of the NY state Court of Appeals. The College of Law would like to extend our appreciation to the competitors and judges who worked to ensure the success of this event.

MacKenzie Moot Court winnersWinning Team: Brady O'Malley and Aaron Schiffrik
Best Final Round Advocate: Brady O'Malley
Best Brief: Brady O'Malley and Aaron Schiffrik
Best Overall Advocate: Vanessa Macias
Finalists: Nina S. Hong and Chris W. Audet