For the 16th time since U.S. News started rating advocacy programs in 1995, Stetson University of Florida earned the top spot in the trial advocacy rankings. Stetson is best known for its trial competition teams, which boast an impressive record of first place finishes at national trial competitions. This includes a 2010 National Trial Championship victory over Stanford, which has consistently been ranked among the top three law schools overall by U.S. News. Since 1981, Stetson has won over 64 national advocacy championships, four world titles, and 100 best oralist or advocate awards.
Operating out of the Center for Excellence in Advocacy, Stetson offers nearly 40 advocacy courses and maintains seven courtrooms. Students can choose from 12 clinics, including ones focusing on low-income taxpayers, immigration law, prosecution, public defender, child advocacy, and veterans. In addition, Stetson places over 300 students with more than 100 organizations each year.
Like Stetson, Temple University’s Beasley School of Law is renowned for its trial competition teams, which have won numerous national championships. Temple’s advocacy faculty is highly regarded for its teaching excellence and has received awards from the American College of Trial Lawyers, the American Bar Association, the National Institute for Trial Advocacy, and American Law Institute. It offers 17 external clinical courses where students can work on real cases through partnerships with organizations like the IRS, the EPA, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Temple is among the few programs to offer a LL.M. in trial advocacy for practicing attorneys.
Baylor University focuses on integrating legal theory with practical skills in all of their courses. So it’s no surprise that Baylor hoisted a national trial championship banner in 2009, along with producing a 97.52% bar passage rate this year. Offering over 20 advocacy courses, Baylor’s rigorous third-year moot court touches everything from conducting discovery, filing petitions, and arguing motions to selecting juries, examining witnesses, and making closing arguments. Baylor also manages a broad externship program, where students can gain real-world experience through outlets like the U.S. Attorney’s Office. What’s more, Baylor sponsors the Top Gun National Mock Trial Competition, an invitation-only tournament that was won by Temple’s Caroline Power in 2014.
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