logo

Litigation & Trial Advocacy Programs

My measure of which law schools seem to have active litigation programs is the American Association for Justice, also known as the ATLA (American Trial Lawyers Association) list of national mock trial competition participants. Their web page shows participants from 2000 to 2004. Here's what I learned:

2011 note: in the past two years, "experiential learning" has become the buzzword as employers want workers who know not only how to read cases but additionally how to work. As a result, I would expect more schools to strengthen their mock trial, litigation, and negotiation classes. You can try browsing the web site linked above to look for more recent data.

A surprising number of schools never or hardly ever participate in the competition. They include:

  • Arkansas-Fayetteville
  • Arkansas-Little Rock
  • Boston College
  • Cal-Davis
  • Cal-Hastings
  • Chicago
  • Cincinnati
  • Colorado
  • Columbia
  • Cornell
  • Dayton
  • Detroit Mercy
  • District Of Columbia
  • Gonzaga
  • Hawaii
  • Indiana-Indianapolis
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Maine
  • Marquette
  • Mercer
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Mississippi College
  • Missouri-Columbia
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • New England
  • New Mexico
  • New York - CUNY
  • New York Law School
  • Northeastern
  • Notre Dame
  • Ohio Northern
  • Oregon
  • Pittsburgh
  • Regent
  • Saint Louis
  • U. St. Thomas (in Michigan)
  • San Francisco
  • Santa Clara
  • Southern Cal.
  • Southern Illinois
  • Stanford
  • Texas Southern
  • Utah
  • Vanderbilt
  • Virginia
  • Washburn
  • Western N. Eng.
  • Western State
  • Yale

 

Another bunch participate sometimes, but not routinely. They include:

  • Arizona
  • Cal-Berkeley
  • Cal-UCLA
  • DePaul
  • Duke
  • Emory
  • Louisiana State
  • Louisville
  • Loyola-New Orleans
  • Memphis
  • New York University
  • North Carolina Central
  • North Dakota
  • Northern Illinois
  • Nova
  • Penn
  • Richmond
  • Rutgers-Newark
  • Saint Thomas (in Florida)
  • Seton Hall
  • Touro
  • Villanova
  • Washington

 

The group that enters the competition regularly includes:

  • Akron
  • American
  • Appalachian
  • Baltimore
  • Barry
  • Boston University
  • Brigham Young
  • Buffalo - SUNY
  • California Western
  • Case Western Reserve
  • Catholic
  • Chapman
  • Cleveland State
  • Connecticut
  • Creighton
  • Florida Coastal
  • Florida State
  • Franklin Pierce
  • George Mason
  • Georgetown
  • Golden Gate
  • Hamline
  • Illinois
  • Indiana-Bloomington
  • Lewis And Clark
  • Loyola-L.A.
  • Miami
  • Michigan State
  • North Carolina Chapel Hill
  • Northern Kentucky
  • Oklahoma
  • Oklahoma City
  • Pace
  • Quinnipiac
  • Rutgers-Camden
  • Saint Mary's
  • Seattle
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • South Texas
  • Southern
  • Southwestern
  • Stetson
  • Suffolk
  • Syracuse
  • Tennessee
  • Texas Wesleyan
  • Thomas Cooley
  • Toledo
  • Tulsa
  • Valparaiso
  • Vermont
  • Washington And Lee
  • Wayne State
  • West Virginia
  • Whittier
  • Widener (Delaware)
  • Willamette
  • Wisconsin

 

And this elite group not only enters but at least sometimes wins at the regional level or higher.

  • Alabama
  • Albany
  • Arizona State
  • Baylor
  • Brooklyn
  • Campbell
  • Capital
  • Cardozo
  • Chicago-Kent
  • Denver
  • Drake
  • Duquesne
  • Florida
  • Fordham
  • George Washington
  • Georgia
  • Georgia State
  • Harvard
  • Hofstra
  • Houston
  • Howard
  • Idaho
  • John Marshall
  • Kentucky
  • Loyola-Chicago
  • Maryland
  • McGeorge
  • Missouri-Kansas City
  • Montana
  • Northwestern
  • Ohio State
  • Penn State
  • Pepperdine
  • Roger Williams
  • Saint John's
  • Samford (Cumberland)
  • San Diego
  • Southern Methodist
  • Temple
  • Texas
  • Texas Tech.
  • Thomas Jefferson
  • Tulane
  • Wake Forest
  • Washington U.
  • William And Mary
  • William Mitchell
  • Wyoming

 

So what does this mean to you? If you really want to be hired as a trial lawyer, I would advise going to a school in that last group. If you know you want some litigation experience to be part of your legal education, but don't necessarily want to work exclusively as a litigator, look at the middle two lists. Use the first list only if you're sure that transactional work is in your future.

 

Take me back to the
"Preliminary "Page

Take me back to
the Home Page