South Texas College of Law first in U.S. to win 100 national advocacy titles

By Marilyn Tennissen | Apr 17, 2008

Gerald Treece

Houston's South Texas College of Law became the first American law school to win 100 national Advocacy competitions, an April 7 press release from the school stated.

The school's mock trial and moot court program won its first national title in 1980.

"We don't intend to stop at 100 wins," says Advocacy Director and Associate Dean T. Gerald Treece. "We started this series of wins 27 years ago and we're still in stride."

The South Texas team of Stephanie Howell, Jessica Sykora, and Kristen Welsh won the 21st Annual August A. Rendigs Jr. National Products Liability Moot Court Competition in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Advocacy competition simulates real courtroom experience with a panel of judges hearing appellate arguments or a trial.

"The educational value of competition is that it teaches students to express themselves orally and in writing (with written briefs)," Treece stated. "The successful South Texas style is to help the student find within themselves their unique ability to persuade others on matters of importance. It's conversational, and replaces formality with sincerity and oratory with logic."

Treece, faculty members and hundreds of graduates who competed for the college devote their time to coaching the Advocacy team.

According to the press release, the U.S. News and World Report's national ranking of law schools has included South Texas College of Law in the top 10 every year in the specialty of teaching trial advocacy skills.

"We are very proud of all of our students who have contributed to this highly successful advocacy program over the past three decades," stated South Texas President and Dean James J. Alfini. "By participating in advocacy competitions, our students have demonstrated excellence in both oral and written communication skills, which are always identified as being of paramount importance in preparing for the practice of law."

"We continue to instill the same successful principles in every new group that comes through," says Treece. "We are very good, and we do it consistently-it's the spirit of South Texas College of Law."

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