In 1981, this College was co-founded by Professor Stephen A. Saltzburg, then of the University of Virginia School of Law, and now the Wallace and Beverly Woodbury University Professor, George Washington University Law School, and the Honorable Herbert J. Stern, then United States District Court, Newark, New Jersey.
Virginia Continuing Legal Education and the University of Virginia School of Law partnered with these individuals to create an “Annual Institute of Trial Advocacy.” This Institute has evolved into what today is the National Trial Advocacy College, a partnership between Virginia Continuing Legal Education and the University of Virginia School of Law, with Stephen Saltzburg as its Director.
The College has attracted a prominent faculty of trial attorneys, judges, professionals, and experts, many of whom have a long and distinguished tenure with the College. With an enrollment of approximately 150 lawyers per year, the College has refined the skills of thousands of lawyers from across the world, from Australia to South Africa to Japan.
The format of the program has remained its cornerstone: lectures and demonstrations by prominent faculty, followed by extensive training in small groups by a faculty member. In these groups, the lawyers practice and perform every advocacy skill in a simulated setting. Critique from the faculty and peers then ensues, all video recorded for the benefit of the attendee. After this hands-on trial skills training, the lawyer teams with a member of the group to prepare and try a case against another pair of attendees—before a live jury with an experienced trial judge.
In 1987 the College instituted the Brennan Award in honor of
Justice William J. Brennan, Jr. The honorees, many of whom
also lecture at the College, include:
Judah Best, The Honorable Robert R. Merhige, Jr., The Honorable Herbert J. Stern
The Honorable Charles L. Becton, James D. St. Clair, Stephen A. Saltzburg
William J. Brennan III, Terence F. MacCarthy
John J. Curtin, Bruce I. Goldstein
The Honorable Frederic N. Smalkin, Gregory P. Joseph, Peter J. Kenny
Thomas F. Campion, Stephen M. Duncan
The Honorable James T. Turner, John C. Lowe
James M. Brown, Barry I. Fredericks, Charles B. Gorham
The Honorable Ralph Adam Fine, Colin J. S. Thomas
Raymond M. Tierney, Mary Lynn Tate, Edward R. Slaughter, Jr.
Stephen B. Farmer, The Honorable Norman K. Moon
The Honorable Stephen H. Helvin, Gerald A. Messerman
The Honorable Helen S. Balick, The Honorable Bernard Balick, Robert M. Taylor
Michael R. Fontham, The Honorable B. Waugh Crigler
Brian J. Donato, Arthur J. Schwab
David Boies, Gerald F. Ivey
James J. Brosnahan, The Honorable David G. Lowe, The Honorable Clifford R. Weckstein
The Honorable Antonin Scalia
The Honorable Peter Hill Beer, The Honorable Adrian G. DuPlantier
Benjamin R. Civiletti, Peter J. Neufeld
The Honorable Leonie M. Brinkema, Robert A. Clifford, Jo-Ellan Dimitrius
The Honorable Barbara J. Rothstein, Theodore V. Wells, Jr., Kenneth R. Feinberg
The Honorable Mortimer M. Caplin, The Honorable Julian Abele Cook, Jr.
Otto F. Feil III, Kathy L. Nusslock
The Honorable Liam O'Grady
The Honorable Russell E. Carparelli, The Honorable Ricardo M. Urbina
The Honorable Gerald B. Lee
The Honorable Bernice B. Donald
The Honorable Robert J. Conrad, Jr., Kenneth W. Curtis
The Honorable Henry Coke Morgan, R. Craig Wood
The Honorable Karen A. Henenberg, Brenda Rodriguez-Howdershell