25th Anniversary of the Legal Profession Program

The University of Dayton School of Law is celebrating the silver anniversary of its Legal Profession Program, which has garnered a national reputation for excellence.

Over the years, the Legal Profession Program has grown in distinction locally and nationally. In 2004, the program was first recognized as one of the top legal research and writing programs in the U.S. News specialty rankings.  The program’s faculty are well-known in the national and international legal writing communities. They frequently publish, present at professional conferences, and take leadership positions in the legal research and writing, bar, and other professional organizations.  

The Program has always had an innovative curriculum. With three-semesters of required courses, Dayton Law was among the first law schools to require eight credits of legal research and writing instruction. A recent modification includes the addition of transactional drafting as an alternative to appellate advocacy in the required third  semester. The curriculum continues to evolve to provide the skills needed in today’s practice of law and Dayton Law students have reaped the benefits. 

View the letter from the State of Ohio Senate honoring the University of Dayton School of Law for Outstanding Achievement.

25th Anniversary Celebration and Portrait Unveiling of the Hon. Walter H. Rice

Hon. Walter H. RiceOn April 16, 2014, the School of Law held a celebration to honor the 25th anniversary of our nationally recognized Legal Profession Program, and recognize the outstanding work of our Lawyering Skills faculty members. They have taught a generation of students the foundational skills of legal research and writing. The evening was sponsored by the Jurist in Residence Program through the generosity of Neil F. Freund '67.

The celebration included a portrait unveiling of the Honorable Walter H. Rice, painted by Gregory Gibson, Class of 1977. Judge Rice and Greg Gibson are long-time friends and benefactors of the Law School. The portrait by Greg, which nows hangs in the Mathias H. Heck Courtroom in Keller Hall, is a wonderful, lasting tribute to Judge Rice.

The Law School would like to extend a sincere thank you to all who attended, and especially to the Honorable Frank Geraci, Jr., who delivered the keynote remarks. Judge Geraci sits on the United States District Court for the Western District of New York, and he and Greg Gibson were classmates in the Law School's first graduating class.

Please enjoy the photo album that shares highlights of the evening.
More pictures can also be seen here.


Proposed by the late Dean Fran Conte, the program began in the fall of 1988 under the direction of Professor Emeritus Dennis Turner.  Dean Conte and UDSL alum Prof. Lori Shaw taught the first semester of the program, later joined by Dean Maria Crist, Prof. Sheila Miller, and Patricia Suttman.

The current Legal Profession program still includes Shaw, Crist, and Miller. They are joined by Professors Adam Todd, Victoria VanZandt, Susan Wawrose, and Julie Zink to complete the current faculty roster.

Professor Emeritus Rebecca Cochran joined the program and subsequently became its second director.  Crist was selected to direct the program in 2004 and remained as director until 2011, when she became the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.  With this transition, the program moved to an autonomous model, replacing the director position with a coordinator, as has become more common for mature and established legal research and writing programs.  Professor Miller is the first coordinator under this new model.

Moot CourtAll combined, these talented faculty have contributed significant skills and talents to shape the curriculum and aid in the School of Law's recognition as a national leader in the legal research and writing community. Dean Paul McGreal said, "I am proud to have colleagues who are not only leaders in their field, but who are dedicated to teaching our students to practice excellence in and out of the classroom."

A series of events over the coming academic year are planned internally and externally to recognize the significance of the program and its accomplishments at this milestone in its history.


Articles & Publications

Albert Emanuel Hall ca 19990Our faculty are frequent authors and presenters as evidenced by the extensive list of publications found here.


What Our Students Have to Say

"I must extend praise for your Legal Writing classes. Of my entire class schedule, your classes have become those that I have applied most often in my academic career. Throughout the year, I became more proficient in my legal writing and my analysis became more thoughtful. At times where a clear understanding of the arguments was obscured, your ability to resolve the confusion was a helpful component to my overall grasp of the material."
- A. Friedman

"I thought the Legal Pro classes you taught were great and I found that they prepared me for real-world practice. I was complemented many times for my legal writing skills while clerking for the Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office."
- S. Bissell '09

"The practical legal training received from UDSL's Legal Profession faculty instills confidence in students that is a distinct advantage in any legal setting."
- S. Conrad '12

"The time you spend in the program developing effective and persuasive writing techniques to develop clear and compelling arguments helps you stand out to a prospective employer."
- M. Flurry '13

"The legal writing program not only helped me develop necessary practical skills but also gave me the confidence to succeed in my externship."
- S. O'Banion '12


Share Your Memories

Share your memories and experiences of the Legal Profession Program with the UDSL community by sending your information to the School of Law.