The Center for Advocacy

Message from the Director

A Message from our Center for Advocacy Director, David C. Schott

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Hello and welcome.  As the Director for our Center for Advocacy, I thank you for taking time to visit our site. 

As a licensed attorney, who had the immense benefit of practicing as a full-time trial attorney for 20 years before joining our law faculty, and who has been able to continue to practice in a part-time capacity since I joined our law faculty in 2008, I say without hesitation that this is an exciting time in the centuries-old history of law school education.

Way back in 2007, the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching released its groundbreaking study, Educating Lawyers: Preparation for the Profession of Law, calling for law schools to “rethink the curriculum to better prepare (law school) graduates for the practice of law.”  The study provided the clarion call to law schools nationwide to place greater focus on the “professional development” of their law students.  In short, the Carnegie Foundation revised the age-old mission of law schools of teaching students to “think like a lawyer” and expanded it to teach students to “think AND ACT like a lawyer.”

Our law school wasted no time in creating The Center for Advocacy.  Our CFA grew quickly on both the national stage and within our own walls. Within four years it rose to the Top 10 advocacy centers in the country (as ranked by US News & World Report). 

Our Center for Advocacy is devoutly dedicated to the professional development of our students, to help make them “practice ready.”  Our goal is to empower our students to obtain or create employment for themselves in the “Profession That Takes The Oath.”  As I like to say, “My number one job is helping our students get jobs and excel in those jobs.”  Being the only law school in a major city like Denver, our students benefit greatly from the wonderful corps of alumni and practitioners – lawyers and judges – who selflessly give their time helping our students understand the responsibilities, dynamics, strategies, tactics, and all aspects, required to succeed in the actual practice of our profession. 

To that end, the Center for Advocacy oversees and supports the development of courses, activities and events in the four areas of advocacy:

                                Trial Advocacy                   Pre-Trial Advocacy

                                Appellate Advocacy           Client Advocacy

One of the primary methods by which the Center for Advocacy fulfills its mission is through “professional education through simulation.”   Ideally, a student’s law school experience should progress through these stages:

Indoctrination – In their 1L year they learn the basics of critical thinking and the theoretical principles of a variety of subject matters areas of law.

Simulation – In their 2L year, benefitting from simulated environments, students apply the critical thinking and theoretical principles learned in their first year.

Application In their 3L year, students apply their, now-practiced, professional knowledge through externships, internships, jobs, and clinical experiences.

The Center for Advocacy falls firmly in the “Simulation” stage of this educational progression.  The CFA plays a key role in law students’ professional development through our approach of “applied critical thinking.”

Students have the opportunity to earn a “Concentration in Litigation & Trial Advocacy” by earning 24 credits in advocacy and advanced advocacy courses.   The letter a student receives upon successfully achieving a Concentration has become very attractive to potential employers and a great topic in job interviews.  Within that 24 credits of the Concentration, students can also earn a “Focus” in either Civil Litigation or Criminal Litigation if they desire.

Courses.  Our CFA provides a wide range of courses to help prepare our students for their entry into our profession. The courses range from introductory simulation courses to full-blown practice labs.   Here are some of the specific courses offered:

  • The Day 1 Civil Practice Lab
  • The Day 1 Criminal Practice Lab
  • The Mentors Practicum
  • 18 sections of Trial Practice I
  • 8 sections of Trial Practice II
  • 12 sections of Trial Practice III
  • Expanded course offerings in:
    • Voir Dire
    • Depositions
    • Litigation Technology
    • Motions Practice
    • and many more

The majority of CFA courses are taught by our Adjunct Faculty comprised of experienced and educationally-minded practitioners and jurists in the Rocky Mountain region.

Events.  Our CFA also hosts a variety of events and educational programs outside of the classroom, ranging from educational tournaments, to interactive forums with alumni and area attorneys.

  • The Summit Cup – we host this national tournament attracting the country’s best teams
  • The Hoffman Cup – our annual premier trial advocacy tournament for upperclassmen
  • The Advocacy Cup – our annual trial advocacy tournament for 1L, 2L and 3L students
  • The Crosstown Cup – an educational exercise involving our 1L and CU’s 1L students
  • 6 moot court (appellate) tournaments
  • Various employer roundtables comprised of area alumni
  • Evidence Primers and Trial Strategy Primers
  • …and many more

National Teams.  Our CFA also sponsors a great number of competitive teams that travel nationally.  As most students attest, these national forums are some of the most beneficial educational experiences in their law school careers. 

  • A 32 Member National Trial Team with accolades that include:
    • 3 consecutive Regional Championships
    • 3 consecutive trips to The National Trial Championships in Texas;
    • Championship Finalist
    • and Professionalism Award Winner at the National Trial Advocacy Competition; Regional Finalist in the ABA Employment Law Mock Trial Competition…just to name a few.
  • 13 National Moot Court Teams that include:
    • Jessup International Appellate Law Moot Court
    • Advanced Appellate Moot Court
    • Federal Bankruptcy Moot Court
    • Pace Environmental Moot Court
    • MLB Baseball Arbitration
    • Vis International Arbitration
    • NFL Arbitration
    • Client Counseling
    • Negotiation & Mediation
    • Native American Law Moot Court

These are just a few of the offerings in our Center for Advocacy, and we continue to develop cutting edge courses and opportunities each year.   I encourage you to fully explore the CFA website and all of the opportunities that our Center for Advocacy has to offer.

David C. Schott, Director


Mission Statement

The University of Denver Sturm College of Law understands the value of graduating students who can succeed in the courtroom on their first day in the profession. Thus, Sturm places a strong emphasis on trial and appellate advocacy in its curriculum. And not surprisingly, the students of Sturm perennially respond by passionately embracing the courses, programs and tournaments offered.

Courses include everything from Basic and Advanced Trial Practice, to Appellate Advocacy and Legal Writing, to the more hands-on focused clinic and “Street Law” courses.

Sturm compliments its courtroom-focused curriculum by also educating its students on how to effectively prepare a case prior to entering the courtroom. The law school offers a panoply of courses focusing on Depositions, Negotiations, Motions Practice, Pleadings, and Client Counseling, just to name a few.

The fruits of the school’s efforts are illuminated on the national stage. Sturm’s competitive advocacy corps includes ten different teams that travel to tournaments across the country. These teams include their nationally-recognized ABA, AAJ, Ethics, International Law, and Client Counseling teams.

With the support of award-winning faculty, seasoned trial practitioners, and student organizations such as the Student Trial Lawyers Association, the Moot Court Board, and the Student Bar Association, every academic year is filled with opportunities for Sturm students to continually participate in advocacy courses and programs, and receive the mentoring support that is vital, for Sturm graduates to excel in the profession.

Sturm College of Law
University of Denver
2255 E. Evans Avenue
Denver, CO 80208