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January 12 , 2022


Jan. 20

Webinar: Omicron Variant and

COVID-19 Vaccines

Jan. 27

Pitt Speaker Series:

Lilliana Mason


On this first day of spring classes, as outside of school, much energy right now is taken just moving forward, as safely as possible.

But as we navigate each day, we also keep our eyes on the horizon. We are in the midst of an active effort to strengthen our award-winning trial advocacy program.

This week we feature "A New Day In Court" and one of its driving forces, alumnus Ted Schmidt.

Until the footnotes,



Alumnus Ted Schmidt on Giving Students

"A New Day In Court"

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At the dawn of a new year, Ted Schmidt is a man on a mission.


The 1977 alumnus, who maintains a highly regarded national trial practice, has long been a fervent supporter of both the college and the University of Arizona, serving in leadership roles with the Law College Association, the college’s Board of Visitors, and the University of Arizona Foundation. 


Now Ted is championing “A New Day in Court,” the college’s most ambitious capital undertaking in more than a decade. The project is particularly close to his heart, reflecting more than forty years of teaching, mentoring and coaching students.


The $4 million-dollar initiative funds construction of new state-of-the-art courtroom, classroom, and lobby spaces that literally put litigation skills front and center of the law school.

“I have loved my years of teaching and coaching students,” Schmidt says, “and my goal has always been to teach them to communicate with sincerity in a persuasive way. You’re trying to teach them how to motivate and persuade jurors -- not just with words, but, with gestures, visual aids, outlines, and other tools that supplement the oral presentation. To do this effectively, you need to have a seamless command of the technology, confidence in your physical presence within the courtroom, and experience interacting with others in an environment that can seem theatrical. This just can’t be done in the law school’s current outdated courtrooms.”

Ted, with other members of the all-Wildcat law firm Schmidt, Sethi & Akmajian, recently made a substantial leadership gift to the initiative, in great part to honor their common teacher and mentor, iconic Professor Thomas Mauet:


“What Tom Mauet did for so many of us – and not just at Arizona – was to create modern architecture for the teaching of trial skills. That hadn’t been done before and has not been done better since. We want to see that tradition of excellence continue. The programs Tom Mauet and Barbara Bergman have developed already lead the nation in the teaching of advocacy. Its time that Arizona Law’s facilities reflected that prominence in this important aspect of legal education."


With construction slated to begin in early summer, building support now is essential. Ted takes time almost every day to talk to alumni, friends and firms about the project, and, more broadly, about the importance of skills training for students:


The teaching of advocacy is an enormously important part of legal education, even for students who aren’t going to go on to trial careers. The ability to present a position, make an argument and persuade an audience are skills important to lawyers in virtually all fields of practice. Trial practice is the highest form of advocacy we can teach at the law school and the skills learned translate into many aspects of lawyering.


Ted is excited about the state of the art technology and open design plans which he believes will spark interest among current and prospective students, noting that:

“Being able to imagine yourself in a courtroom is key. Students will see others working in the courtroom day after day, and might think “Whoa, that looks like something I could do."


Left to right: Dev Sethi (‘97), UA President Robert Robbins, Ted Schmidt ('77),

Matt Schmidt ('10) and Peter Akmajian ('84).

Learn More About "A New Day In Court"

See the virtual tour of the project.

Professor and Director of Advocacy Barbara Bergman describes the Project and its goals. Watch here.

Read about leadership gifts from Kevin Boyle ('97) and Beale, Micheals, Slack & Shughart.


To learn more about "A New Day in Court" including donor naming and recognition opportunities, please contact Senior Director of Development Megan O'Leary at or 520-621-8430.

Weekend Deposition Course Offers "Hands-On" Training

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Focused training is critical for every stage of litigation. Our Advocacy Program will again be offering a two-weekend intensive class, “Taking and Defending Depositions," on March 18-20 and April 1-3.

Designed for both practicing lawyers and advanced law students, the course focuses on effectively preparing witnesses, optimizing expert witness information, defending the deposition, and testing case theories, among other topics.


This is a “learn by doing” class with lectures and small group exercises. Classes will be held on Zoom, giving participants a chance to learn how to better conduct depositions virtually.

Clarissa Todd, a 2021 participant, describes the course as challenging and fun:

"Beyond just teaching me an essential practice skill, this class gave me unparalleled access to mentors and feedback. During each session, I was learning from career litigators and judges. What I was learning was immediately refined by their feedback and reinforced through additional practice. My experience in this course has since come up in interviews as something that sets me apart. I can't recommend the course enough.”


The class is limited to eight practicing attorneys and 24 law students and may be eligible for CLE credit.

The all-inclusive cost for the class is $1,000. Early registration discounts, payment plans and firm/office discounts for multiple participants are available. For registration and questions, please contact Professor Barbara Bergman at


The State Bar of Arizona does not approve or accredit CLE activities for the Mandatory Continuing Legal Education requirement. This course may qualify for up to 31 hours toward your annual CLE requirement for the State Bar of Arizona, including 4.5 hours of professional responsibility.



Is it go time for the GRE?

National Jurist, featuring Marc Miller


Law Journal Article Outlines Path to Ombuds Privilege,

The Ombuds Blog, featuring Diana Simon


The Marble Palace Blog: The Role of Justices and Judges in a Tumultuous Time, featuring Tessa Dysart

A New Day in Court – a transformative initiative – has received wonderful support from many alumni and friends. This support responds to the compelling leadership from Ted Schmidt, and his colleagues – Dev Sethi, Peter Akmajian, and Matt Schmidt.

Join them. Join us.


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