Trial ad grad, Academy Award winner take aim at reform

Former Trial Advocacy student and National Trial Team member Adam Foss JD'08 (above, second from right), teamed up with Academy Award-winning musician John Legend to launch a nonprofit--Prosecutor Integrity. The organization's goal is to train prosecutors "using recent advances in social, behavioral, and neurological sciences." Foss served as an Assistant District Attorney in the Juvenile Division of the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office in Boston. He delivered a TEDTalk on prosecution reform that has more than 1.3 million views.

The Big 10

Suffolk Law is offering ten sections of Trial Advocacy this academic year (Trial Ad, Trial Ad Intensive, and Trial Ad Criminal). Half of the sections are taught by judges. Students in our Trial and Appellate Advocacy Concentration are required to take 5 courses:

The most compelling cross

In a recent video, Adjunct Trial Advocacy Professor and former Suffolk National Trial Team member Hank Brennan JD'96, defense attorney for mob boss Whitey Bulger, talks about the meaning of his Suffolk Law National Trial Team experience. Mass Lawyers Weekly said of his defense in the Bulger case: "It was one of the most compelling cross-examinations I've ever seen." 

Re: Consistency

Suffolk Law has been a consistent leader in a competitive trial advocacy region, winning the regional championship in the AAJ National Student Trial Advocacy Competition or the New England Regional Co-Championship in the National Trial Competition 27 times in the last 31 years.

Tool for the defense

Trial Advocacy Professor Christopher Dearborn has served as a legal defense expert in several Lawyers Weekly articles this year. He spoke to Lawyers Weekly recently about a potential new tool for defense attorneys to attack the credibility of prison informants.

He says of the school's trial advocacy course, "We created a clear set of requirements for teachers--guidelines and specific skills that must be taught. In the end, students have gone through all of the major components of a trial, alone or with a partner, and have tried an entire four-witness mock trial from Motions in Limine to verdict. It's a robust approach."

Standing up. Nationally ranked 9 years in a row.

Our clinics have ranked in the US News Top 30 for 9 years running. Seven of those clinics put students on their feet in courtrooms.  

Auditions first 

The Suffolk Law National Trial Team teaches and trains a group of 24 to 36 students every year, from 1L to 3L, most of whom spend two or three years with the program. They audition for the team, usually starting out on practice squads, and with training and experience work their way up to the competition teams. National Trial Team graduates are among the best-trained trial lawyers in the country.

One quarter of the judges 

One of every four judges in the Bay State is a Suffolk Law graduate. Each academic year the law school holds four trial and appellate advocacy competitions for its own students. The winners are selected by a panel of real judges--many from Suffolk Law. The regular involvement of judges, prosecutors, top trial and appellate lawyers, and firm partners, generates excitement and a high level of competition.  


Suffolk Law 

Trial & Appellate Advocacy Concentration
120 Tremont St.

Boston, MA 02108


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