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Shook, Hardy & Bacon Center for Excellence in Advocacy


The Shook, Hardy & Bacon Center for Excellence in Advocacy capitalizes on its namesake’s distinguished history in litigation to cultivate a new generation of trial lawyers.

The Center has three broad goals:

  1. Offer unique skills-based training to KU Law students.
  2. Present valuable programming for KU Law alumni and the regional bar.
  3. Open new scholarly opportunities for KU Law faculty and nonfaculty studying related issues through a Fellowship program.

The Center was founded in June 2008 with generous support from Shook, Hardy & Bacon, an international law firm based in Kansas City, Missouri, that counts among its partners and associates many KU Law graduates.

Skills Simulations

Students who possess strong professional skills are better equipped for success when they graduate and enter the legal marketplace. At KU Law, students have ample opportunities to gain such experience while satisfying the school's experiential course requirement. Examples include:

  • Collective Bargaining and Dispute Resolution
  • Contract Drafting
  • First Amendment Advocacy
  • Kansas Supreme Court Research Practicum 
  • Trial Advocacy

View all courses that satisfy the experiential course requirement

Additionally, KU Law offers an expanding menu of intensive simulation workshops that allow students to gain hands-on experience in trial advocacy and transactional law. Veteran attorneys teach the Deposition Skills, Expert Witness and Due Diligence workshops, providing invaluable guidance and feedback as students practice their skills with peers.

Deposition Skills Workshop
The Deposition Skills Workshop teaches students the art of taking and defending depositions. This professional skills course exposes students to substantive and procedural law, as well as the ethical rules, pertaining to depositions. It provides students a realistic deposition setting in which they will learn to conduct and defend a series of depositions in a simulated environment under the direction of experienced attorneys who serve as the workshop faculty.

Meet the 2016 faculty members.

Expert Witness Workshop
The workshop exposes students to the substantive and procedural law, as well as the ethical rules, pertaining to expert witness testimony. Moreover, it provides a realistic courtroom setting where students will learn to conduct and defend a series of expert witness examinations and cross-examinations in a simulated environment under the direction and guidance of experienced attorneys who will serve as the workshop faculty.

Due Diligence Workshop

Due Diligence Workshop
The workshop exposes students to the due diligence process that is critical to every business transaction. In a realistic due diligence setting, students learn the fundamental scope and goals of the process, identify the typical issues that must be analyzed, practice using a framework for systematically accumulating information, and understand how that information may affect the structure of the transaction and the content of the agreement that memorializes it. The course is taught by KU Law faculty and experienced transactional attorneys.

Course descriptions

Outreach Events
The Shook, Hardy & Bacon Center for Excellence in Advocacy hosts events in the Kansas City metro area each year that are of interest to alumni and the bar. This year's events will be announced soon.

Advocacy Speakers Series
The Center hosts leading advocates from the region and the nation at large presenting on timely topics.

Previous speakers have included Justice Sandra Day O'Connor (2010) and then-Chief Judge Robert Henry of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit (2009).

The Center will also launch a "lunch-and-learn" style speaker series for KU Law students, faculty and practitioners.

Advocacy Fellows
Each year, the Center names a Shook, Hardy & Bacon Center for Excellence in Advocacy Fellow from among the ranks of non-law faculty.

Fellows bring an interdisciplinary element to the KU Law experience by relating their studies of jury decision-making, forensics or empirical studies of the courts through a series of lectures at KU Law and to the regional bar.

2013-14 Fellows

Federal Judges Michelle Burns and Michael Newman

Federal Judges Michelle Burns (District of Arizona)
& Michael Newman (Southern District of Ohio)

"The Role of Narrative in the Courtroom"
12:30 - 1:30 p.m.
Monday, October 21, 2013
104 Green Hall

2011-12 Fellow

Tom Beisecker
Inaugural Lecture: "The Role of Narrative in the Courtroom"
4-5 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 10, 2011 | 106 Green Hall

Second Lecture: "Convenient Courtroom Fictions: How Rules of Evidence Relate to Jurors' Cognitive Behavior"
4-5 p.m. Wednesday, April 18, 2012 | 107 Green Hall

Dr. Tom Beisecker is the inaugural Shook, Hardy & Bacon Center for Excellence in Advocacy Fellow. Beisecker is a national expert on the empirical study of jury decision-making, how jurors infer missing facts, and how jurors reconcile inconsistent facts when arriving at verdicts. He is also a member of the board of directors of the American Society of Trial Consultants. Beisecker is an associate professor in the communications studies department at the University of Kansas.





Lumen Mulligan
Associate Dean, Faculty
Professor of Law

Why KU
  • One-third of full-time faculty have written casebooks and treatises
  • 2 KU law faculty were U.S. Supreme Court clerks
  • KU’s Project for Innocence: 34 conviction reversals since 2009
  • 7,600+ alumni in all 50 states, D.C., and 21 foreign countries
  • #18 “best value” law school in the nation — National Jurist Magazine
  • 12 interdisciplinary joint degrees
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  • 80 percent of upper-level law classes have 25 or fewer students
  • More than 600 employment interviews at law school, 2014-15
  • 92 percent overall employment rate for Class of 2014 – top 20 percent nationally
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  • #1 in Kansas and Missouri for July 2015 bar exam performance