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Trial Advocacy

Advocacy Skills Training

Syracuse University College of Law was honored with the Emil Gumpert Award for the best law school advocacy program in the United States by the American College of Trial Lawyers.

The New York State Bar Association cited Syracuse Law as the best trial skills law school in New York State 10 times in recent years by awarding the College its coveted Tiffany Cup.

Trial CompetitionTrial Practice

Trial practice courses are popular elective offerings among College of Law students. In beginning and advanced courses, experienced trial lawyers, judges, and college faculty members teach elements of trial process and techniques. Simulated trials take place in the college's state-of-the-art practice courtrooms. Advanced trial practice courses concentrate on the communicative aspects of litigation, including jury selection, expert witness examination, direct and cross-examination, and summation. Trial practice courses culminate in simulated jury trials, with students demonstrating skills learned during the semester. 

Moot Court

A strong moot court program is an important part of legal training at Syracuse University College of Law. The student-run Moot Court Honor Society selects problems for the many intraschool competitions and invites students to compete in briefing and oral argument. Students who are selected for the competitions must prepare both sides of the case because a flip of the coin decides who argues each side in the actual competition. 

The Lionel O. Grossman Trial Competition, held each fall, culminates in a championship moot court trial presided over by a distinguished jurist and a jury of the area's leading trial attorneys. In the spring the appellate advocacy program culminates in the Mackenzie Lewis Competition, in which finalists argue an appellate problem before a distinguished panel of nationally noted jurists and lawyers. 

Because of its extensive advocacy skills program, Syracuse dominates national moot court competitions. In the past 16 years, its teams have won 3 national trial championships, 15 northeast regional first place awards, and 5 best-advocate-in-the-nation awards. In 1997 the college's National Trial Team tied for fifth in the nation in two national championships. In each competition Syracuse met the ultimate champions and defeated them. Five times in the past 9 years Syracuse Law has been invited to the National Invitational Tournament of Champions, featuring the nation's 12 best teams. Syracuse has won other national awards in appellate, minority rights, and international tax competitions during the past two decades. 

International Moot Court Competitions

Mock Trial CompetitionSyracuse law students participate annually in a host of international moot court competitions. Working closely with faculty coaches, year after year the select group of students continues to uphold the quality reputations of previous classes.

Students can choose to specialize in international law as early as their first year by being selected for a special section of the Legal Communications and Research course. Eight students from this course participate in an interschool moot court competition. 
  • In 1993 Syracuse University College of Law students won first place at the international law competition in Toronto
  • In 1996 the team placed second and one team member was named best oral advocate among the 48 participants
  • Syracuse won first place in 2003 with one of the team's oralists winning a best oralist award
  • Syracuse placed second in 2005.

Jessup Moot Court Competition

A team of second and third-year Syracuse law students compete annually at the Jessup competition in international law. The Jessup Moot Court Competition is an intercollegiate event held under the aegis of the American Society of International Law. The Jessup team has won awards at the Regional rounds for its Memorials each year for the past four years, and in two of those years took first place for its Memorials.  In 2006 the team not only won first place for its Memorial, but a member of the Syracuse team won the best oralist award at the Regional rounds.  Teams compete at regional and international levels on a significant international law problem. A two person team of second or third-year Syracuse law students competes annually at the Inter-American Competition in international human rights law.

The Inter-American Moot Court

Competition is an intercollegiate event held at the American University.  Teams competeat the international levels on a significant international human rights problem.  Syracuse Law is one of a small number of U.S. law schools which participates with law schools from South America.  The participants argue in English, Spanish and Portuguese.  Syracuse took the award for best oralist in English in 2005.

Willem C. Vis Moot Court Competition:

A four person team of second and third-year Syracuse law students competes annually at the Willem C. Vis International Sales and Arbitration Competition.  The Willem C. Vis Moot Court Competition is an intercollegiate event held in the spring each hear in Hong Kong and in Vienna.  Teams compete at the international levels on an international sales problem before an arbitral tribunal.  Syracuse students have an opportunity to compete against students from all over the world, including teams from Australia, India, Germany, and China, as well as the United States.  While the team has previously traveled to Vienn

Grossman Trial Competition Winners

Grossman Trial Competition

It is our great honor to announce Samantha Robbins and Gracie Wright as the winners of the 36th Annual Lionel O. Grossman Trial Competition, which was held on Oct. 24 at the James M. Hanley Federal Building. Congratulations to our finalists Angela Reed and Mark O'Brien. A further congratulations to Mark O'Brien, who won the esteemed Frank H. Armani Advocacy Award, as the best advocate. It was a phenomenal round of advocacy and a truly high note to end upon. 

Hon. Frederick J. Scullin L’63 presided, In addition, the evaluating judges were Frank H. Armani L’56, Anthony S. Bottar, Hon. John C. Cherundolo L’73, Hon. Thérèse Wiley Dancks L’91, Richard D. Grossman L’55, Professor Emeritus Travis H.D. Lewin, Hon. David E. Peebles L’75.

The competition’s namesake, Lionel O. Grossman L’16 passed away in October 1991. At that time, he was one of the College of Law’s oldest living alumni. His professional achievements, community service and commitment to excellence personified the ideals of the legal profession. For more than 30 years, Grossman devoted himself to the fight against cerebral palsy. In 1946, he founded the Cerebral Palsy Center and became the president of the United Cerebral Palsy Association of Syracuse and New York State. He also served as co-counsel to the National Cerebral Palsy Legislative Committee.

Thank you to all of the competitors, the Moot Court Grossman Committee and Members, distinguished judges, College of Law Administration, Staff, and community at large. Your unwavering support of this cornerstone of the College of Law's Advocacy Program is immeasurable.