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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.

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"
October 21, 2013

2011-12 Fellow

Tom Beisecker
Inaugural Lecture: "The Role of Narrative in the Courtroom"
November 10, 2011

Second Lecture: "Convenient Courtroom Fictions: How Rules of Evidence Relate to Jurors' Cognitive Behavior"
April 18, 2012

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

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