Charles H. Rose III 1 1 Professor of Excellence in Trial Advocacy; Director, Center for Excellence in Advocacy.
1 Stetson J. Advoc. & L. 1 (2014)
When Dr. Timothy Kaye and Professor Catherine Bohl asked that I write the foreword to the first edition of the Stetson Journal of Advocacy and the Law I was honored, but somewhat apprehensive at putting pen to paper in furtherance of Stetson’s legacy in what is currently recognized as the forefront of legal education — teaching law students how to not only understand the law, but to apply it in the service of a client.
This Journal captures the unique strengths of a partnership between former practitioners, current academics, students, and future practitioners of the law, one of the hallmarks of the Stetson education experience. The result is a series of articles that are both interesting and applicable — a rarity in the world of academic legal journals.
Stetson University College of Law, the first law school in the state of Florida, has been committed to teaching both the theory and practice of law since its inception. When the first classes were held and lawyers made, trial advocacy was included in the courses taught. From that day to this the law school has consistently stood for the proposition that theory and practice are two sides of the same coin — a complete legal education.
This Journal is one more step in a legal education journey committed to a type of legal education creating not only legal scholars, but practicing lawyers. As the current Director of Stetson’s Center for Excellence in Advocacy, I have been fortunate to have some small part in continuing the legacy of every professor, student and lawyer who have stood for Stetson’s commitment to excellence in both the practice and study of the law.
This Journal owes its creation and existence to the hard work of Dr. Timothy Kaye and Professor Catherine Bohl. Together they have brought to life the vision of the Stetson students who clamored for an outlet for practical legal scholarship. Their hard work and commitment took the idea of this Journal and made it a reality. I am grateful to them for their professionalism and dedication. Only at Stetson would an expert in tort law and a skills professor join together to create the online Journal you are currently viewing. It would have been impossible to create, staff, and manage it without their commitment and they are shining examples of what it means to be a professor of law at Stetson University.
The decision to build it from the ground up as an online Journal makes it potentially available any time, anywhere. The Journal’s format makes it easily accessible and readable to anyone with internet access and an HTML compliant browser. In this age of always on digital access Dr. Kaye’s unique ability to create and format a legal journal using cutting edge platforms has directly contributed to the creation of this Journal and bodes well for its longterm success. It is also in keeping with Stetson’s position as a leader in technology enhanced legal education, with offerings that include an Online Advocacy Resource Center, two online L.L.M. programs and the ability to produce professional level teaching and training materials in our on campus television production facilities.
This sort of project cannot come into existence without the support of the law school administration. Interim Dean Royal Gardner and Associate Dean Kristen Adams fully supported this Journal from its inception, and their leadership was an important step in its creation. Dean Chris Pietruskiewicz took up the banner when he came on board and has supported the Journal going forward. I am grateful to each of them for the work that they have done on behalf of the school and this Journal.
Stetson University College of Law has long dedicated itself to the idea that superior substantive legal knowledge must be combined with excellence in its practical application. To put it another way, we stand for the proposition that when law is learned contextually it increases the student’s knowledge base and ability to practice. This is an ideal that is directly in keeping with the current discussion sweeping through the practice of law and legal academia.
Many so-called elite law schools have focused for almost a century on removing the connection between the study of law and the practice of law — to the detriment of both. We do things differently here. This Journal supports the idea that substance and practice must be learned holistically during the law school experience, and that law schools have a duty to the bench and bar to provide useful resources. Stetson has a history of approaching the law school experience through the lens of the practice of law — a history that has stood the graduates of the law school in good stead as they transitioned from students to practitioners of the law. This Journal captures our longstanding commitment to excellence in the practice of law by mastering the substance contextually.
In these articles you will see the study of law informing the practice of law, and the practice of law effectively guiding the creation of relevant scholarship. To consider one without the other makes each less relevant in a world demanding relevancy. This is a unique position to take in legal education, but one that more and more schools are coming to realize must be a core component of a vibrant law school in today’s interconnected world. We are happy to welcome them to the party and would like to assure them that there is plenty of room left at the table for institutions valuing practical scholarship informing the academy, the bench, and the bar.
As they join us we will continue as we began, creating lawyers who not only master the complexities of legal theory, but who effectively use that knowledge of behalf of clients, the legal system, and the nation: Stetson lawyers.