2013 Past Headlines
IU McKinney Offers Advocacy Skills Concentration
Law students who want to graduate knowing they possess the skills they need to navigate the courtroom with confidence can benefit from the Advocacy Skills Concentration offered at the IU Robert H. McKinney School of Law.
It is one of several concentrations and certificates offered at IU McKinney. These programs provide students an opportunity to demonstrate to potential employers that they have focused their studies on a specific area of interest and achieved a level of excellence. This concentration is set to become a graduate certificate, pending university approval. Professors Joanne Orr and Fran Watson, co-directors of the law school’s clinic program, are faculty advisors for the concentration.
“Taking advocacy courses helped me tremendously,” said Mandy McIlwain, ’13, who earned the Advocacy Skills Concentration. “The various courses not only taught me how to effectively advocate, but they also built my confidence.” McIlwain also was a student in the Immigration Clinic, and calls “the highlight of my law school career” the day she saw the joy on her clients’ faces when they received their documents indicating their asylum status.
Planning to work in the South Bend firm Hammerschmidt Amaral & Jonas, Ben Jonas, ’13, knew he’d have to be prepared to navigate the courtroom as soon as he graduated. “Oral advocacy is something that will be critical,” he said. “They’re in the courtroom a lot,” he said of the firm’s lawyers.
“It increased my confidence in the practical side of lawyering,” Jonas said. “This was an area I wanted to focus on in law school. I’m comfortable with the trial process because of law school.”
The hands-on learning opportunity offered by the Advocacy Skills Concentration appealed greatly to Andrea Kochert, ’13.
“I’ve always been a practical, hands-on person, where I feel you learn best by doing,” Kochert said. One of those learn by doing opportunities for her was the Wrongful Conviction Clinic. “The clinic was so powerful. It gave me the opportunity to see how lawyers do make an impact and get a lot of fulfillment out of the job. I really enjoyed that clinic.”
Kochert also did two internships during law school, which gave her even more hands-on learning opportunities. One internship was with U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Tim Baker, and the other was with Indiana Court of Appeals Chief Judge Margret Robb, ’78. Her first job now that she’s an IU McKinney alumna will be as a clerk to Indiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Brent Dickson, ’68.