Educating today the successful lawyers of tomorrow
In the 1990s, giants in the Tennessee legal community envisioned a law school curriculum that would better prepare law students for a career in advocacy and dispute resolution. These visionary founders—Donna R. Davis, Sidney W. Gilreath, T. Robert Hill, Thomas R. Prewitt Sr., Robert E. Pryor and family, John T. Milburn Rogers, Jerry H. Summers, and Bass, Berry & Sims PLC—saw an opportunity for UT Law, a school already recognized for its strong clinical education program, to capitalize on the strong tradition of helping students to learn by doing. Together, they founded the Center for Advocacy and Dispute Resolution to provide a specialized curriculum for interested students.
The center offers a unique series of courses taught by an experienced faculty utilizing the college’s state-of-the-art facilities. Members of the adjunct faculty include state and federal judges, private and public lawyers, and certified mediators. Courses include traditional advocacy courses like Trial Practice and Advanced Appellate Advocacy, as well as a host of more specialized offerings, such as interviewing and counseling, negotiations, and mediations.
The center also provides extracurricular programs for students and the legal community which include a distinguished lecture series, multidisciplinary symposia, and the popular Practice Series in which judges and lawyers visit the college for presentations and lunch with students.
The center awards an annual scholarship, the Summers–Wyatt Trial Advocacy Scholarship, to a student who has demonstrated excellence in advocacy courses and who intends to pursue a career in advocacy and dispute resolution. The committee who selects the recipient is comprised of the dean, the senior member of the Tennessee Supreme Court who is a College of Law graduate, and the presidents of the Tennessee Bar Association, the Tennessee Association for Criminal Defense Attorneys, and the Tennessee Association for Justice.
The scholarship was created by the Chattanooga law firm of Summers and Wyatt. The founding partner, alumnus Jerry Summers, explains that he was only able to go to law school because of a scholarship: “The UT law school gave me the foundation for a career in law. I’m grateful for that, and I think it is my responsibility to give something back.”
The center’s symposia are published in conjunction with the Tennessee Journal of Law and Policy. Twice each year, the center publishes a newsletter, The Advocate, which features articles about the center’s events, faculty, student activities, and other items of interest. Read the summer 2015 issue of The Advocate (PDF) and find past issues on TRACE.
Center for Advocacy and Dispute Resolution
University of Tennessee College of Law
1505 W. Cumberland Ave.
Knoxville, TN 37996-1810