Trial Advocacy Team, The University of Akron



Akron Law’s nationally acclaimed advocacy, trial and moot court programs offer a wide range of opportunities to students wishing to develop courtroom skills. In fact, our elite trial team program has set the standard for excellence with multiple national championships.

Excellence in the classroom

Advocacy law is one of our areas of national influ­ence. Drawing upon their extensive experience, our expert professors begin teaching all students key advocacy skills during the first year of law school. Students then have the chance to acquire valuable skills through upper-level courses in trial ad­vocacy, appellate advocacy, and alternative dispute resolution (ADR). If litigation is your passion, you may pursue a variety of specialized courses. By completing a specialized course of study, Akron Law students may gradu­ate with a Certificate in Litigation, which signifies both a focus on litigation coursework and achievement of above-average grades in those courses.

Innovative Summer Trial Academy

In addition, developed by Professor Dana K. Cole, we also offer a Summer Trial Academy that draws upon the expertise of prominent lawyers and judges who work hand-in-hand with students over an intensive two-week period in the summer on developing the tools necessary to succeed in the world of litigation. Learn more and hear directly from the participants, attorneys, professors, and judges who participated in the innovative Summer Trial Academy here.

Excellence in the courtroom

Outside the classroom, students put skills to the test in real-world settings by appearing in court under the supervision of our clinical programs. In fact, you will have the opportunity to appear in court under faculty guidance during your final year of law school. Because our law school is located just a short walk away from four court systems in downtown Akron, you will have plentiful opportunities to acquire real-world experience and develop professional networks. This exciting opportunity will also open doors to legal employment and introduce you to serving the community. The clinics and practical opportunities at Akron Law abound.

Excelling in national competitions

By participating in our celebrated mock trial team, you will receive hands-on training from practicing trial attorneys who devote their time to Akron Law students. This interactive mentoring relationship has resulted in numerous national championships and notable finishes. Over the last 20 years, Akron Law’s mock trial teams have been invited to participate in the prestigious National Institute for Trial Advocacy competition nearly every year. Only the top 16 law school trial programs in the country are invited to participate in this tournament.

Students who participate in the mock-trial experience acquire skills that are immediately transferable to real-world practice. They cultivate their trial skills, including creating and delivering opening and closing arguments and direct- and cross-examinations. Similarly, the moot court experience allows students to engage in appellate practice that incorporates brief-writing and oral argument skills. Students are selected for these teams through a "tryout" process. Akron Law also offers an intramural mock-trial competition for students who are not members of the competition teams. Moot court and other competitions are available as well.

Distinguish yourself here!

Through our expertise, you can learn the art of advocacy in court­room and non-courtroom settings. Let us instruct you about effectively arguing, encouraging, or supporting a proposition, proposal, or cause in any setting. We will empower you to assist others and advocate for the interests of the client in the most effective manner possible.

Advocacy law experts

Richard C. Cohen, Associate Professor of Law | Bio teaches Legal Research & Writing and Legal Drafting (particularly contract drafting), as well as Client Interviewing and Counseling.

Dana Cole, Associate Professor of Law | Bio teaches courses in Trial Advocacy, Evidence, and Criminal Law. He is also a faculty member and serves on the board of directors of Gerry Spence's Trial Lawyer's College in Jackson, Wyoming, in addition to teaching in several other trial advocacy workshops and CLE settings across the country each year, for both law students and practicing lawyers. Prior to joining the Akron Law faculty, Professor Cole was a trial attorney in the Dayton area.

Sarah M. R. Cravens, Vice Provost for Strategic Initiatives and C. Blake McDowell Jr. Professor of Law | Bio clerked for a federal appellate judge and practiced in the litigation group at Arnold & Porter LLP in Washington, DC and New York, specializing in pharmaceutical products liability defense prior to joining the Akron Law faculty. She teaches Torts, Remedies, Professional Responsibility and Judicial Ethics. Professor Cravens publishes and speaks nationally and internationally on ethical issues for both lawyers and judges.

Carolyn L. Dessin, Aileen McMurray Trusler Professor of Law | Bio is Director of Moot Court programs at The University of Akron School of Law. She is an expert in appellate advocacy, and has served as a law clerk for The Honorable Collins J. Seitz in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit and as an attorney for Morgan, Lewis & Bockius in addition to her long academic career.

William Dowling, Practitioner-in-Residence | Bio focuses his practice on mediation and alternative dispute resolution, having tried more than 100 cases to jury verdict. He has litigation experience in both state and federal court, and in a wide range of areas including professional negligence, employment discrimination, commercial disputes, construction, oil & gas, and personal injury. He is a past president of the Akron Bar Association and is also Of Counsel at Buckingham, Doolittle & Burroughs, LLP. Mr. Dowling teaches Pretrial Advocacy, Negotiations, Mediations, and Externships.

Bernadette Bollas Genetin, Professor of Law | Bio teaches Civil Procedure I & II, Federal Jurisdiction & Procedure, and Complex Litigation. Prior to entering academia, she clerked on the federal court of appeals for the Second Circuit and practiced as an associate and later a partner at law firms in Columbus and Canton. Professor Genetin has published extensively in the area of federal rulemaking.

Elizabeth Knowles, Assistant Clinical Professor of Law | Bio teaches the Immigration Clinic and Human Rights Law Clinic and asylum law. She previously served as Executive Director of the American Bar Association's Immigration Justice Project.

John P. Sahl, Joseph G. Miller Professor of Law and Director of The Joseph G. Miller and William C. Becker Center for Professional Responsibility | Bio teaches courses on Evidence and Professional Responsibility, among other topics, and is a frequent presenter at national and international conferences on matters of professional ethics. He has served as an expert witness on professional responsibility matters and publishes often in the field. He has also co-authored a casebook on the law of Evidence.

Elizabeth A. Shaver, Associate Professor of Legal Writing | Bio teaches courses in Legal Research & Writing and Legal Drafting (particularly litigation drafting). She worked previously as a judicial clerk for a federal district court judge and as an attorney for both the law firm of Jones Day and Genesis Professional Liability Managers. Professor Shaver has published several articles in the area of legal writing and has spoken at conferences on the subject.

Richard R. Strong, Assistant Professor of Legal Writing | Bio practiced for 25 years as a trial attorney at the law firm of Roetzel & Andress in Akron, specializing in medical defense, and handling cases in both state and federal courts prior to joining the Akron Law faculty. Professor Strong teaches Legal Research & Writing and Legal Drafting, as well as Expert Evidence.

Tracy A. Thomas, John F. Seiberling Chair of Constitutional Law and Director, Constitutional Law Center | Bio teaches Alternative Dispute Resolution, Remedies, and Family Law. Prior to joining the Akron Law faculty, she practiced with the law firm of Covington & Burling and Neighborhood Legal Services in Washington, D.C. Professor Thomas is an expert in the area of remedies and is the co-author of a casebook in the field.

Matthew J. Wilson, University President | Bio has 25 years of experience in a variety of legal specialties, including international dispute resolution, U.S. and Japanese jury trials, trial advocacy, cross-border litigation, and international business law. He has published widely on trial advocacy and jury trials, both in the U.S. and Japan, and is a frequent presenter on a wide range of topics in international law. He continues to teach international negotiations in South Korea and Japan, and now at Akron Law, he teaches International Business Transactions. Before entering academia, President Wilson practiced as general counsel in-house and as a litigation associate in a law firm.

Advocacy law courses
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution
  • Appellate Advocacy
  • Civil Procedure I
  • Civil Procedure II
  • Client Interviewing and Counseling
  • Complex Litigation
  • Divorce Mediation
  • Evidence
  • Expert Evidence
  • Federal Jurisdiction & Procedure
  • International Business Transactions
  • Mediation
  • Negotiations
  • Pretrial Advocacy
  • Professional Responsibility
  • Problem Solving
  • Summer Trial Academy
  • Torts
  • Trial Advocacy I
  • Trial Advocacy II


Criminal law at Akron

If you are interested in criminal law, Akron Law can prepare you for a career through our course offerings, skills training, and hands-on experience.

Criminal law at Akron

Trial Advocacy Team at the University of Akron's School of Law

Trial Advocacy Team at the University of Akron's School of Law

Trial Advocacy Team at the University of Akron's School of Law