Our slogan is “Advocacy in Action” here at the UMKC School of Law Advocacy Department. We are committed to training “trial- ready” advocates for the courtroom, board room, appellate courts and beyond. Here you will have the opportunity to learn trial skills with experienced professors, including Douglas Stripp Dean’s Distinguished Professor of Law and Director of Advocacy, S. Rafe Foreman. You will also have the opportunity to learn under Professor Tobin who has many additional years of trial experience as well as from a cast of Adjunct Professors who are currently active in all aspects of trial practice.
You will gain valuable experience in trial law and practice. Our students have opportunities to participate in trial advocacy courses. In addition to course opportunities, we offer several clinics and a Mastery of Advocacy course which provide real client, real discovery, and real trial experience. We’ve found that preparing trial-ready students begins with training students in action, on real cases, in the real world.
Students who complete our advocacy programs should be able to pick up a file of a case being litigated, organize it and present it before a court and a jury in a persuasive way. Whether you have a desire to be a trial advocate, compete for your school, or merely want to overcome the fear of speaking in front of others, these courses are for you.
Trial Advocacy Competitions +Trial advocacy competitions emphasize the development of trial advocacy skills through mock trial experiences. Trial team members are selected in several ways: an intra-school competition, the 1L Last Team Standing Trial Advocacy Competition; tryouts; advocacy skill clinics; and competitions. Trial teams represent the school in regional and national competitions. UMKC has competed in many competitions including the National Trial Competition, the National Pretrial Competition, the Student Trial Advocacy Competition, and the National Criminal Justice Trial Advocacy Competition. In the last two years, UMKC has advanced to the final rounds of the National Trial Competition and the National Criminal Justice Trial Advocacy Competition. Teams have competed in Buffalo, Chicago, St. Paul, Gulfport, San Juan Puerto Rico, St. Louis, Houston, Jefferson City, Seattle, San Francisco, and many other cities across the country. In 2013 the Show Me Challenge was created by Professors Foreman and Tobin as the first National Voir Dire Competition. The competition is held annually in Kansas City and teams attend from across the nation. UMKC has created the Board of Barristers, a student operated organization devoted to the improvement of trial advocacy skills in all students.
Contact: Professor Rafe Foreman and Professor Michaelle Tobin
Show Me Challenge +In 2013 the Show Me Challenge was created by Professors Foreman and Tobin as the first National Voir Dire Competition held annually in Kansas City and attended by teams from across the nation. The skill of selecting a jury is essential for a trial attorney and is not often given adequate attention in law school. Cases may be won or lost as early as voir dire. This competition promotes and encourages the teaching of the voir dire process during a lawyer’s academic career as opposed to the current practice of on the job training.