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UH Law Center’s Blakely advocacy program earns top mark from preLaw magazine

Drew Padley left and Canyon Sanford test their skills in a mediation competition at the University of Houston Law Center

Drew Padley, left, and Canyon Sanford test their skills in a mediation competition at the University of Houston Law Center.

Top School Advocacy Litigation

Feb. 12, 2020 — PreLaw magazine has awarded an A+ rating to the University of Houston Law Center’s advocacy program, one of only five schools nationwide to achieve the highest possible grade.

Jim Lawrence, executive director of the Blakely Institute

Jim Lawrence, executive director of the Blakely Advocacy Institute

Amy Hawk, associate director

Amy Hawk, associate director of the Blakely Advocacy Institute

Under the headline “The art of the duel: Trial advocacy leaders” in its winter edition, the magazine notes the top ranking is not surprising because of the success of the school’s “renowned” Blakely Advocacy Institute. The program not only produces winning teams in national competitions, but founded and hosts the annual Hunton Andrews Kurth Moot Court National Championship.

“The BAI is one of the few advocacy programs in the country that houses all advocacy disciplines under one roof,” said Jim Lawrence, executive director of the Blakely Advocacy Institute who developed the point system used to determine the nation’s top 16 qualifiers for the championship competition.

“This program structure, along with Houston’s outstanding national and international legal market, creates a win-win opportunity for our students,” Lawrence continued. “We teach and practice the art of advocacy.”

“The school’s trial advocacy program is consistently ranked among the top in the nation and attracts much student interest,” the magazine noted. “For instance, in 2018-19 more than 300 University of Houston students took advocacy courses. During the past 20 years, more than 11,000 students have done so.”

“Students enrolled in the Blakely Advocacy Institute’s classes and extracurricular competitions devote an enormous amount of extra time and hard work to mastering the various legal skills offered by the BAI, over and above the usual rigors of a typical law school education,” said Amy Hawk, associate director.  “Late-night study sessions, weekend practices and complicated competition travel schedules are the norm for BAI students — and they tell us almost daily how much they love it!”

“The Blakely Advocacy Institute is one of the University of Houston Law Center’s premier centers focusing on experiential learning to ensure that our students follow in the footsteps of their academic predecessors in becoming outstanding legal advocates,” said Dean Leonard M. Baynes. “Jim Lawrence and Amy Hawk work tirelessly to provide students with these terrific opportunities. The A+ ranking by preLaw magazine is a well-deserved recognition for an extraordinary program.”

Read preLaw article https://cdn.coverstand.com/46781/648084/069beec41c10e03b9e98aa0b79296d75a1998156.6.pdf#page=48, page 48.

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