xu8g7532UMKC School of Law received a $1.4 million gift from the Kemper Family Foundations of Kansas City for the Advocacy Program. Professor and Director of Advocacy, S. Rafe Foreman, built the program and the donor relationship which led to this significant gift.

Professor Foreman has been serving as the Douglas R. Stripp Dean’s Distinguished Professor of Law and Director of Advocacy since 2011. Douglas Stripp was a bright young lawyer who worked alongside Charles Evan Whittaker and created an industry of his own: trial advocacy within Kansas City. Stripp’s passion laid in mentoring young attorneys the art of persuasion and advocacy, and Stripp Professor has carried on this successful legacy. Foreman has taught not only here in the U.S., at UMKC as well as Stetson University, but also as far as Uganda, England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. The Mastery in Advocacy course is also the class that is patterned most closely to the ideals of Douglas Stripp. Side by side, students and Professor Foreman try real cases to verdict in the course.

Professor Foreman, Associate Professor Michaelle Tobin, and (former student) Sara (Hofeditz) Christensen created the only national voir dire competition. The “Show Me Challenge” was established four years ago, as a three-day event that encourages students to gain knowledge and experience in an often under-taught element of trial practice. Under Foreman’s guidance, the Advocacy Program also received an A- rating from The National Jurist in 2016. In addition, this year, UMKC Law was ranked #12 as a Top School for Practical Training.

Professor Foreman submitted a video and proposal to the Kemper Family Foundations as to how the new gift would be used for the Advocacy Program. In early December, the Foundation gifted the university the $1.4 million. $900,000 of the gift will be used to increase the Stripp Professorship endowment and convert it to a Chair. It is anticipated this will earn an additional $35,000 – $40,000 annually to support the program. The remaining $500,000 will provide two Advocacy Fellows each year for five years as we continue to build our Program. The fellows will take over much of the coaching for the trial teams, allowing us to attend additional competitions and providing Professors Foreman and Tobin the opportunity to develop new courses and program additions. 

This generous gift will continue to help UMKC Law build the already growing Advocacy Program. UMKC thanks the Kemper Family Foundations for their enduring support, which will allow students to enjoy even more outstanding educational opportunities.

About the Kemper Family Foundations

The Kemper Family Foundation focuses its giving on education, health and human services, the arts and civic improvements.