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, Mo., that counts among its partners and associates many KU Law graduates.

Skills Workshops
Founded and directed by Professor Valdez, KU Law students enroll in these intensive intersession courses to gain real-world experience with taking depositions and examining expert witnesses.

  • Team taught with KU faculty and practicing lawyers
  • Students take 10 depositions and examine experts.
  • Students gain hands-on skills while still at KU Law.

Expanded Course Offerings
Plans are under way to add additional intersession and regular session skills courses in the near future. Details to come. Questions about these courses should be directed to Professor Valdez.

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.

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
Professor of Law

Why KU
  • One-third of full-time faculty have written casebooks used at U.S. law schools
  • 2 KU law faculty were U.S. Supreme Court clerks
  • KU’s Project for Innocence: 28 conviction reversals since 2009
  • 7,300+ alumni live in all 50 states and 18 foreign countries
  • Routinely ranked a “best value” law school
  • 12 interdisciplinary joint degrees
  • 26th nationwide for lowest debt at graduation. — U.S. News & World Report
  • 23rd nationally among public law schools. “When Lawyers Do the Grading,”
    —U.S. News & World Report
  • 70 percent of upper-level law classes have 25 or fewer students
  • 37th: for number of law graduates who are partners at nation’s largest law firms