The development of practical, real-world litigation skills in a courtroom setting is a crucial element of the St. Mary’s experience. This belief is affirmed every day through the actions and accomplishments of our highly respected advocacy programs. These programs provide an ideal environment for students to develop and polish their trial and appellate courtroom skills, as well as their negotiation, mediation, client counseling and dispute resolution skills that are the hallmark of great attorneys.
The St. Mary’s advocacy programs are consistently recognized for competitive excellence on regional and national levels.
Advocacy at St. Mary’s is comprised of three primary programs that allow students both academic and competitive opportunities to hone their skills prior to graduation. Each of these three programs use the state-of-the-art technology-appointed courtroom:
- The St. Mary’s Law National Team
- Board of Advocates
- Advocacy Curriculum
The St. Mary’s Law National Team
The St. Mary’s Law National Team, formerly known as the External Advocacy Program (EAP), prepares students to become practice-ready advocates through training and competitions against other teams in regional and national competitions. St. Mary’s Law students have enjoyed tremendous success. Teams took home the championship trophies in the 2017 and 2016 American Bar Association National Appellate Advocacy Competition, the 2015 William Daniel National Mock Trial Competition, and the 2012, 2014, 2015 and 2016 Federal Bar Association Thurgood A. Marshall Memorial Moot Court Competitions.
The St. Mary’s National Team consists of the National Champion Moot Court Team, the National Alternative Dispute Resolution Team, the National Trial Team, and the International Jessup Moot Court Team.
Board of Advocates
The Board of Advocates (BOA) administers competitions throughout the academic year in order to give students of St. Mary’s University School of Law practical experience in the art of advocacy. The BOA consists of 20 law students who are responsible for the development and organization of all in-house advocacy competitions. Selection into BOA is made at the end of each spring semester.
First-year law students may only compete in First Year Moot Court and Jimi Derrick Moot Court. Second- and third-year law students may compete in all competitions except First Year Moot Court. All law students may volunteer as clients, witnesses, bailiffs and marshals in any competition.
The Board of Advocates also oversees the Lone Star Classic®, an annual invitational mock trial tournament open to ABA-accredited law schools nationwide held at St. Mary’s.
Learn more about Lone Star Classic
The Order of Barristers
The Order of Barristers is a national honorary organization whose purpose is the encouragement of oral advocacy and brief writing skills. The order also provides national recognition for individuals who have excelled in advocacy and service at their respective schools. The application period is now open.
To be considered for selection to the Order of Barristers, please complete this application and attach the required information.
Board of Advocates
St. Mary’s University School of Law
San Antonio, Texas 78228
The goal of the St. Mary’s advocacy program is to prepare students to be effective advocates in courtroom settings. The curriculum focuses on litigation skills that enable students to speak persuasively and build credibility with the court and jury. When students decide to come to St. Mary’s, they know they will have many opportunities to excel in advocacy.
Trial Advocacy classes are designed to give students an introduction to specific trial advocacy techniques such as voir dire examination of jury panels, opening statements, and direct examination of witnesses.
The techniques are demonstrated by instructors and students are given opportunities to perform, and receive instruction concerning, exercises in many aspects of civil and criminal cases.
Advanced Trial Advocacy
The advanced course builds upon Trial Advocacy and introduces students to additional techniques for presenting cases before a court using technology. This course addresses both the details of utilizing technology in the courtoom, as well as strategic and evidentiary concerns surrounding the use of technology. Students are given extensive exposure to the latest advances in St. Mary’s high-tech courtroom.
Larry G. Hyden Mock Trial Competition
Held each September, the Larry G. Hyden Competition provides students with an opportunity to participate in mock trial proceedings and gain advocacy experience.
Larry G. Hyden graduated from the St. Mary’s School of Law in 1974 and was a member of the St. Mary’s Law Journal. Hyden served as a trial lawyer in Corpus Christi for 28 years before entering public service as an Assistant District Attorney in Cuero, Texas. The firm of Jordan, Hyden, Womble, Culbreth & Holzer, P.C., sponsors the competition in Hyden’s honor.
View final round of the 2017 Hyden Competition.
Lone Star Classic®
Each October, BOA is proud to support the Lone Star Classic mock trial competition where St. Mary’s University School of Law invites 16 ABA-accredited schools from around the country to compete on a nationwide stage. Find more information here.
Wayne and Maxine Scott Negotiations Competition
Held in November, the Wayne and Maxine Scott Negotiations Competition provides students with experience in negotiations. Professor L. Wayne Scott played a critical role in directing the alternate dispute resolution program at St. Mary’s University. Allen Craddock, Ph.D., Adjunct Negotiations Professor, established this endowed competition to honor the Scotts for their tireless support of the school’s advocacy program.
Click here to view the video recording of the 2018 Wayne and Maxine Scott Negotiations Competition.
Federal Bar Association Spring Moot Court Competition
In order to promote high-quality education and experience for legal students, the San Antonio Chapter of the Federal Bar Association sponsors this BOA appellate-style competition early each spring.
Click here to view the video recording of the 2017 Federal Bar Association Spring Moot Court Competition.
Renna and Jeff Embry Mock Trial Competition
The Renna and Jeff Embry Mock Trial Competition provides students with another opportunity to participate in mock trial during the spring semester. Renna and Jeff are honors graduates and both served as associate editors on the St. Mary’s Law Journal; Jeff was an active participant in mock trial and moot court competitions and was awarded the Patricia Scott Outstanding Advocate Award recognizing him as the outstanding trial advocate in the law school.
Click here to view the video recording of the 2017 Renna and Jeff Embry Mock Trial Competition.
Linda and Dave Schlueter First-Year Moot Court Competition
All students at St. Mary’s are required to participate in a moot court competition in their first spring semester. This competition is the culmination of a brief-writing process and is a part of the legal writing classes. This early exposure allows students an advocacy-oriented perspective that enhances the traditional first-year coursework.
Professor Dave Schlueter is the Hardy Professor of Law and former long-time Director of the Advocacy Programs at St. Mary’s Law. Mrs. Schlueter is the President of Trinity Legal Center, a nonprofit legal foundation, which focuses on representing post-abortive women. Both of them have published nationally recognized treaties and both have been cited by the Supreme Court of the United States and numerous courts and legal commentators.
View the video recording of the 2019 Linda and Dave Schlueter First Year Moot Court Competition, whose final round was held before the justices of the Fourth Court of Appeals.
Jimi Derrick Moot Court Competition
This fast-paced, single-day competition is held each April in loving memory of one of St. Mary’s favorite sons.
View the video recording of the 2019 Jimi Derrick Moot Court Competition.