A Great Job for the Right Litigation Skills Teacher

In addition to looking for traditional entry-level and lateral faculty, the U. Miami School of Law is also looking for someone to take over its highly popular and award-winning litigation skills program. I'm not on the search committee, although I'd be happy to field questions to the best of my ability. I suspect that the committee would consider both people with a clinical/academic background and an experienced practitioner who showed signs of being able to adapt to the academic environment.

This job is a pretty big deal to the school; the program is large and unusual, and the right person could forge a national reputation from it. The previous incumbent is now the President & CEO of NITA—the National Institute of Trial Advocacy.

The University of Miami School of Law invites applications for the Director of the School’s Litigation Skills Program beginning fall of 2009. This is a tenure-track position. Appointment will be made at the associate or full professor level, depending on experience.

The School is interested in recruiting an individual with a proven record of achievement who will enhance the national reputation of this outstanding program. The Director should have extensive expertise and experience in trial practice and in teaching trial skills and a substantial record or a demonstrable interest in scholarship related to trial skills or related substantive areas.

The University of Miami School of Law Litigation Skills program is an award winning program that provides top quality simulation training in pre-trial and trial practice. Approximately 80 percent of the School’s students take the voluntary six-credit Litigation Skills I class. The Director designs skills problems, teaches litigation skills classes, and recruits, trains, and supervises the work of approximately 60 adjunct faculty. The adjunct faculty are leading practitioners and judges who work with students in small groups to develop their skills.

The Director also oversees the development of Litigation Skills II, a course for students who complete Litigation Skills I. Skills II includes advanced litigation matters such as jury selection, expert witnesses and multiparty or multi-claim lawsuits. Students who complete Skills I may also enhance their skills through a one-semester clinical placement (externship).

The Director supervises the Litigation Skills Program Manager and an Assistant to the Director. The Director works with clinical faculty to identify and coordinate externship placements with public agencies and public interest law offices. The Director develops and fosters relationships with the various agencies, courts, and firms from which Litigation Skills faculty are recruited and clinical externs are placed.

The Director should be prepared to teach one or more core courses on an annual or rotating basis, depending on the needs of the School and the scope of other responsibilities. In addition, the Director should be prepared to work with students to enhance the School’s efforts in inter-school skills competitions.

Interested persons should contact Professor Terence J. Anderson c/o Detra Davis, University of Miami School of Law, P.O. Box 248087, Coral Gables, FL 33124-8087 or ddavis@law.miami.edu.

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4 Responses to A Great Job for the Right Litigation Skills Teacher

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  2. Joe says:

    That first comment has got to be one of the better first comments that I have seen on this blog. Talk about re-defining the question.

  3. Marlin says:

    Uh oh,

    I sure hope that for once the law school skips an “academic” and gets an actual practitioner with ties to the community, preferably a Miami Grad. Lit Skills is the only real contact the law school has with local practitioners. It is also one of the best opportunities that students have to make connections and meet mentors. However, I fear that the faculty will again select one of their own, someone who only cares about how many downloads their paper gets on SSRN and wouldn’t go to a bar association meeting unless their life depended on it.

    Lit. Skills consumes thousands of credit hours accounting for millions of tuition dollars. Only one tenure track faculty member is involved in the program, making it probably the best return on investment the law school has. Students accept this only because they get to learn from and mingle with the best legal minds in town. If the lit skills professors drift away, the law school will find itself in a worse position because tenured professors will have to pick-up the slack and the University of Miami School of Law’s reputation in the community will fall lower than it already is. A well respected local practitioner is essential.

  4. michael says:

    I agree that someone the local practitioners will respect and work with is essential. I reject the suggestion that the Miami bar is so parochial that it will only respect someone local. And the job is exciting and big enough to justify a national search.

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