Lifetime Achievement Award for Excellence in Teaching Advocacy

Stetson University College of Law awards a Lifetime Achievement Award for Excellence in Advocacy to a deserving member of the legal community. This award recognizes excellence in all facets of advocacy, from teaching others to representing clients. The recipient exemplifies the legal profession's commitment to furthering the art, science and skill of advocacy instruction.

2012 Lifetime Achievement Award for Excellence in Advocacy

Recipient: James Seckinger

Professor Seckinger, one of the nation's outstanding trial-advocacy teachers, joined the faculty of the Notre Dame Law School in 1974 as an assistant professor of law and later became an associate professor in 1976 and a full professor in 1979. In 1973, he became a member of the faculty of the National Institute for Trial Advocacy (NITA) and served as its director from 1979 to 1994. He earned his B.S. from St. John's University (Minnesota) in 1964, his M.S. from Vanderbilt University in 1968, and his J.D. from Notre Dame in 1968, where he served as articles editor of the Notre Dame Law Review. A member of the Colorado Bar since 1968 and the Indiana Bar since 1976, Professor Seckinger clerked for the Honorable William E. Doyle on the U.S. District Court in Denver, Colo. (1968-69), served as director of litigation at Denver Legal Aid (1969-72) as a Reginald Heber Smith Fellow, served as chief deputy district attorney at the Denver District Attorney's office (1972-74), and held a visiting professorship at Cornell (1978-79).

Professor Seckinger teaches and writes in the areas of deposition techniques, evidence, professional responsibility and trial advocacy. He co-authored Problems and Cases in Trial Advocacy, one of the leading books used to teach trial-advocacy techniques both in law schools and in continuing-legal-education programs for practitioners throughout the U.S. and Canada. He also has authored trial advocacy books used in New Zealand, Australia, Scotland, Ireland, England, France, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, El Salvador, Panama, and Brazil. Professor Seckinger frequently gives lectures and workshops on trial advocacy and deposition skills at many of the most prestigious law firms and legal organizations around the world. He organized and taught advocacy skills to the war crimes prosecutors for Rwanda in 1996, and for the war crimes under the jurisdiction of the Special Court for Sierra Leone in 2004. Professor Seckinger has trained lawyers, civil and criminal, and judges in El Salvador and Panama as those countries move to an open court adversarial system of justice.

Professor Seckinger has conducted advocacy skills programs throughout the U.S., and Canada, and in New Zealand, Australia, Singapore, Scotland, England, France, El Salvador, and Panama. In 1996, in recognition of his outstanding contributions to the field of post-admission legal education, the ALI-ABA Committee on Continuing Professional Education bestowed on Professor Seckinger its prestigious Francis Rawle Award. The award cited his "extraordinary contributions to the continuing education of the bar as director from 1979 to 1994 of [NITA]" and recognized him "as an exceptional teacher, a great innovator and a proven administrator, as is reflected in his 15-year leadership of NITA in its development years -- years not only of expansion but of consistently high standards of quality that have made it the quintessential world-wide model of [continuing legal education] in trial advocacy." Under Professor Seckinger's leadership, NITA grew from an institute that conducted six or seven programs annually for a few hundred students to an institute that now conducts over 100 programs annually for approximately 4,000 students.

Professor Seckinger is also an academic fellow of the International Society of Barristers (since 1989) and a member of the New Zealand Law Society.

2011 Lifetime Achievement Award for Excellence in Advocacy

Recipient: Edward Ohlbaum

Eddie Ohlbaum is a trial lawyer, professor of law and director of the Trial Advocacy and Clinical Legal Education program at Temple Law School, where he teaches courses in Evidence, Trial Advocacy, Criminal Law, and Professional Responsibility. He is a member of the coaching team of the school's national championship mock trial team and developed Temple's unique LL.M. in Trial Advocacy program. In 1997, he was awarded the Roscoe Pound's Richard S. Jacobson Award, given annually to one professor for "demonstrated excellence in teaching trial advocacy." His publications include three books: Ohlbaum on the Pennsylvania Rules of Evidence (Matthew Bender, 3d ed., 2000), Courtroom Evidence: A Teaching Commentary and its Supplement of Courtroom Vignettes (with Graham) (NITA 1997), and the Pennsylvania Benchbook for Criminal Proceedings (with Temin and Struttin)(AOPC, 3d edit., 1999). During the 1999 spring semester, Professor Ohlbaum served as the Hugh C. Culverhouse Visiting Professor of Law at Stetson. After earning his B.A. at Wesleyan University and J.D. at Temple Law School, he served as a trial lawyer with the Defender Association of Philadelphia from 1976-1983.

2010 Lifetime Achievement Award for Excellence in Advocacy

Recipient: Barbara Bergman

Barbara Bergman joined the University of New Mexico School of Law faculty in 1987, bringing years of experience as a criminal defense lawyer with the Public Defender Service in Washington, D.C. She also spent a year as associate counsel to President Jimmy Carter and had practiced for three years with an employment law/union-side labor law firm.

Her teaching remains focused on criminal law, but once a year, she leads students through an intense Evidence and Trial Practice course. On leave in 2000-2001 and the spring of 2004, Bergman put her teaching into practice when she worked on the defense team in the State of Oklahoma v. Terry Nichols, a state death penalty case. Nichols was prosecuted for conspiracy and murder in connection with the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Building in Oklahoma City. Bergman has lectured and published extensively, including serving as editor of the Fourth Edition of the D.C. Criminal Jury Instructions. She also is the co-author of Wharton's Criminal Evidence, 15th edition, and The Every Trial Criminal Defense Resource Book, which deals with emergencies that may arise in criminal trials.

Bergman is a past president of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. In 2001, Bergman received the Robert C. Heeney Award, the highest honor given by the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. The Roscoe Pound Foundation also honored her with the Richard S. Jacobson Award for excellence in teaching of trial advocacy.

2009 Lifetime Achievement Award for Excellence in Advocacy

Recipients: Professor Thomas A. Mauet and Hon. Warren D. Wolfson

Professor Thomas A. Mauet directs the Trial Advocacy Program and teaches Evidence, Pretrial Litigation, and Trial Advocacy.
For 10 years, Professor Mauet practiced as a trial lawyer in Chicago. He was a prosecutor with the Cook County State's Attorney and the United States Attorney offices. He was a commercial litigator and specialized in medical negligence litigation with the firm of Hinshaw & Culbertson. During these years, he also was an adjunct faculty member at Loyola and Chicago-Kent law schools, teaching criminal law and trial advocacy. Professor Mauet is a leading authority on trials. His latest book is Trials: Strategy, Skills, and the New Powers of Presentation (2d ed. 2009). His other books include: Trial Techniques (7th ed. 2007), Materials in Trial Advocacy (6th ed. 2007), Pretrial (7th ed. 2008), and Trial Evidence (4th ed. 2009), all published by Aspen Law & Business. Trial Techniques is the leading text in the field and has Canadian, French, New Zealand, Australian, and Chinese editions.

Professor Mauet was an Arizona Superior Court Judge pro tem in 1987-88 and in 1988-89 taught at George Washington University as the Howrey Professor of Trial Advocacy. He has also served as a visiting faculty member at Harvard Law School's trial advocacy program and at Washington University. He is a former regional director of the National Institute for Trial Advocacy (NITA) and has taught in numerous NITA programs throughout the United States since 1976. Professor Mauet's research interests center on the application of social science research, particularly in psychology and communications, to the jury trial process.

The Honorable Warren D. Wolfson graduated from Gregory Grammar School and John Marshall High School. He received a B.S. degree in journalism from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 1955 and his bachelor of law degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1957. He was admitted to practice law before the Supreme Court of Illinois in 1957, the United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois, in 1963, the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in 1965 and the United States Supreme Court in 1970.

He was appointed as a Judge of the Circuit Court of Cook County in 1975, elected to a full term in 1976 and retained in 1982, 1988 and 1994. Judge Wolfson was assigned to the Appellate Court, First District, in December 1994. Judge Wolfson, co-author of Trial Evidence, 2d ed., and Materials in Trial Advocacy, 5th ed., has been director of the Trial Advocacy program at Chicago-Kent since 1971. He taught trial advocacy at the University of Chicago Law School from January 1985 to May 2000 and has taught and lectured for the National Institute for Trial Advocacy. He currently teaches an Advanced Evidence Seminar at Chicago-Kent. He is married to Lauretta Wolfson.

2007 Lifetime Achievement Award for Excellence in Advocacy

Recipient: Terence MacCarthy

For more than 37 years, MacCarthy has been the federal defender in Chicago, an office with an outstanding record of dedication and achievement. As a defender, his only client with national name recognition was Al Capone, whom he successfully represented in 1991 at an ABA retrial of the 1931 income tax case. He has served on the faculty of National Criminal Defense College every summer since its inception in the early 1970s. He is also a member of the faculty of the Western Trial Advocacy Institute, the Northwestern Short Course, the University of Virginia Trial Advocacy Institute, and has taught at the Gerry Spence Trial Lawyer's College.