Photograph: Eagle statue outside law school.

Certificate in Advocacy

The requirements on this page are for students who declare an interest in pursuing the Certificate in Advocacy beginning 2023 or later.

Students declaring their interest prior to 2023 will meet the previous requirements.

Advocacy is an essential skill of all practicing attorneys whether they are representing their clients in courts, before administrative agencies, before private arbitrators, before legislative committees, or in private negotiations. Even those who do not litigate must have a thorough understanding of the litigation process in order to effectively represent their clients in a more transactional focused practice. All lawyers, at some point, advocate. The Certificate in Advocacy is available for students who have a serious interest in the art, science, and the law of advocacy. The recipient of the Certificate in Advocacy has demonstrated a thorough understanding of the litigation process, the ability to produce forum-appropriate pleadings and documents, the ability to try a case proficiently to either judge or jury, and the ability to make various strategic choices to best represent their future clients through the art of advocacy. The Certificate is an acknowledgement by the Faculty that the student has successfully completed a focused course of study in advocacy.

Course of Study

Required Courses (Choose 4 courses)

  • Civil Procedure II or Criminal Procedure II
  • Evidence
  • Pretrial Advocacy-Civil or Pretrial Advocacy-Criminal
  • Trial Advocacy

The Law and Theory Underlying Advocacy (Choose 2 courses)

  • Artificial Intelligence & Law
  • Capital Punishment Seminar
  • Children in the Law
  • Conflicts of Law
  • Constitutional Litigation
  • Federal Courts
  • Gender, Sexuality and the Law
  • International Civil Litigation in the U.S.
  • International Human Rights
  • Jurisprudence
  • Juvenile Offender
  • Legislation
  • Race and the Law
  • White Collar Crime

Advanced Litigation (Choose 3 courses)

  • Advanced Evidence: Expert Witnesses
  • Advanced Trial Advocacy
  • Appellate Practice
  • Cross Examination Techniques
  • Divorce Practice
  • E-Discovery
  • Financial Issues in Divorce
  • Fundamentals of Oral Argument
  • Jury Selection & Voir Dire
  • Law and Accounting
  • Litigation Strategies
  • Patent Prosecution
  • Taking and Defending Depositions
  • Tax Procedure

Alternative Dispute Resolution (Choose 1 course)

  • Alternative Dispute Resolution
  • Arbitration
  • Collaborative Law
  • International Petroleum Arbitration
  • Mediation
  • Negotiations

Lawyering Requirement (Choose 1 course)

  • Clinic: Litigation
  • Criminal Appeals Advocacy
  • Externship I (Involving a lawyering experience in an advocacy placement. The Advocacy Certificate administrator, working with the externship coordinator, will determine whether an externship meets the necessary criteria.)

Service Requirements

  1. Students must complete 10 hours of approved pro bono activities which involve advocacy skills.
  2. Complete and submit the Advocacy Certificate Service Form (12 KB PDF) within one month of completing any service hours.

Extra-Curricular Activities

Certificate students are encouraged, but are not required, to participate in one of more of Washburn Law advocacy related extra-curricular activities to further develop their advocacy skills.

  • Client Counseling Competition
  • Jessup Moot Court Competition
  • Moot Court
  • Negotiation Competition
  • Trial Team

General Requirements

Any student interested in pursuing a Certificate in Advocacy must first meet with a faculty member administering the certificate (Professor Joseph Mastrosimone) to declare their interest and plan their course of study. This must be done prior to completing 40 hours of study. Following the meeting the faculty member and student will complete the "Meeting Summary" (27 KB PDF). This faculty member will also serve as the student's Certificate advisor and will approve any waivers or alternative courses allowed or required by the course of study.

The student must complete 90 hours of total law school credit and achieve a minimum grade point average of 3.0 in courses used to satisfy their Certificate requirements.

Learning Outcomes

After completing this Certificate, students will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate an understanding of the different skills needed for effective client advocacy, including alternatives to litigation, pretrial advocacy and trial advocacy.
  2. Demonstrate an understanding of the different stages of advocacy from initial consultation to final outcome and how each of these stages is connected to the others.
  3. Understand the ethical responsibilities that are involved in advocating for clients.
  4. Competently represent clients at each stage of advocacy in the student’s chosen area or areas of law.

Note: Students who declared their intent to pursue a Certificate prior to June 1, 2021, and who obtained a minimum grade point average of 3.5 for courses used to satisfy their Certificate requirements, will be awarded the Certificate in Advocacy (with distinction).

Approved by the faculty: March 2023.

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Faculty Member
Photograph: Joseph Mastrosimone.

Joseph Mastrosimone
Professor of Law

Courses offered within the law school curriculum are subject to change at any time.

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Certificates of Concentration

Students at Washburn University School of Law may distinguish themselves in the job market by earning a Certificate of Concentration. The areas of concentration can be completed within the traditional 90 credit hours required for graduation. While students do not declare majors because law school provides a broad foundational education, earning a certificate at Washburn Law allows students to formalize an area of specialization within the traditional law school curriculum.

Certificates may be earned in the following areas: