Stetson Law Celebrates Opening of its Advocacy Institute

A collage of images, including an external shot of a two-story building and four individuals cutting a ribbon in front of a set of modern doors.
Officials celebrated the opening of the Advocacy Institute with a ribbon cutting on October 28, 2023.

Stetson alumni, leadership, and friends recently gathered to celebrate the opening of a stunning new facility on the College of Law campus in Gulfport.

With support from alumni and other community leaders, the Advocacy Institute invites students, faculty, and other members of the advocacy community to learn and collaborate in its well-appointed courtrooms, study areas, and other spaces.

Officials and alumni celebrated the new facility at an event in late October.

“It has been such a joy to share our new Advocacy Institute with the community,” said Stetson Law Dean D. Benjamin Barros. “We can’t wait to see the many ways in which this dynamic new space will grow and shape our legacy as a global advocacy leader.”

In photos: Advocacy Institute opening reception

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The facility will build on Stetson Law’s stellar reputation as a national leader in advocacy education while giving students opportunities to grow as advocates and as members of the community. Stetson Law is U.S. News & World Report’s No. 1 destination for advocacy and has been for years. The Institute will greatly enhance this incredible legacy.

More space to collaborate, practice, and celebrate

Situated on Stetson Law’s historic Gulfport campus, the 16,000-square-foot facility is emblematic and functional. It offers students a modern setting to learn without leaving the campus’s majestic grounds.

With the addition of six new courtrooms, the new facility brings the number of formal courtrooms on campus to 12. The facility also adds two new jury deliberation rooms, one new lecture classroom, two new technology-equipped conference rooms, and 16 new offices.

In photos: Stetson Law’s new Advocacy Institute

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Extensive collaboration space invites students to study and share insights gleaned from their educational journeys. The Institute also features a history and awards hall, a renovated lobby entrance, and the campus bookstore. The new spaces will be the ideal training ground for Stetson Law’s award-winning moot court, mock trial, and dispute resolution teams – as well as the perfect backdrop for major annual events like the Educating Advocacy Teachers conference, the National Pretrial Competition, and the International Environmental Moot Court Competition.

Exploring advocacy across disciplines

Several of the College of Law’s celebrated centers and institutes have also moved here, including the Center for Excellence in Advocacy, Center for Excellence in Elder Law, and Jacobs Law Clinic for Democracy and the Environment. This invites students and mentors involved with these programs to work together, share ideas, and hone their skills across disciplines.

“An advocacy-rich education, which extends across concentrations and courses, gives students multiple opportunities to advocate for themselves as well as for positions, principles, and issues,” said Law Professor Elizabeth Boals, director of Stetson’s Center for Excellence in Advocacy. “These experiential learning spaces in our new Advocacy Institute allow for more intensive, advanced, specialized advocacy courses.”

Stetson Law believes in developing the complete advocate, and this facility represents our commitment to mastering a superior understanding of the law, the ability to persuasively present evidence, and the humanity to know when to do the right thing.