In a recent commentary for Breaking Defense, Sean O’Keefe, University Professor in the Maxwell School, noted the opening of President Ronald Reagan’s first inaugural address in 1981, where the Republican observed that the peaceful and orderly transfer of national authority…
College of Law Names Advocacy Honors Society after Professor Emeritus Travis H.D. Lewin
The College of Law has named its student-run advocacy competition organization the Travis H.D. Lewin Advocacy Honors Society. In doing so, the college honors the faculty member who was instrumental in creating what was, in the early 1970s, a groundbreaking program and who oversaw years of high-profile moot court competition successes.
College of Law Dean Craig M. Boise announced the new name at the Advocacy Honor Society’s annual banquet on April 26, 2019. Professor Emeritus Lewin attended the banquet, along with members of his family, faculty, colleagues, students and alumni, including many who volunteer as coaches and judges for the Advocacy Honors Society’s inter- and intra-school advocacy competitions.
“Professor Emeritus Lewin has made a profound impact on the history of our college and on the lives and careers of our students, especially in courtrooms nationwide. For decades, he advised, coached and mentored moot court competition teams and won national championships against top law schools,” says Boise. “Even in retirement, Travis continues to judge competitions and to follow our student competitors avidly. His legacy has fueled the growth and prestige of the Advocacy Honors Society, which now encompasses appellate, dispute resolution, and trial courses and competitions, and serves as a powerful recruitment tool to attract star advocates to our college. Naming the Advocacy Honors Society for Travis will ensure that future generations of advocates are aware of its roots and of the innovation it represented when it was created.”
Today, the College of Law is known nationwide for its advocacy skills training and for success at the regional and national levels of major competitions. It has been honored 10 times as New York’s best trial skills law school by the New York State Bar Association.
The Travis H.D. Lewin Advocacy Honor Society oversees mock appellate, alternative dispute resolution, and trial experiences; organizes five intra-school competitions; and sends students to 17 inter-collegiate competitions. Over the years, Syracuse students have won numerous national and regional awards, and during 2017-2018, 196 students took part in the program.
The College of Law’s Advocacy Program complements the honor society by supporting students’ practical and trial experiences through teaching essential skills that they will need as practicing lawyers. The curriculum includes the popular introductory and advanced trial practice courses in which lawyers, judges and faculty teach trial procedures, strategies and techniques, such as jury selection, expert witness examination, direct and cross-examination, and summation. Simulated trials and competitions take place in Dineen Hall’s two state-of-the-art courtrooms.
Before joining the College of Law faculty in 1967, Lewin was in private practice and served as an assistant U.S. attorney. A pioneering educator, Lewin’s mark on the college extends beyond the advocacy program. He was instrumental in establishing the clinic program in 1968; he served on numerous University, Chancellor and University Senate committees and task forces; and he served as interim dean of the college from 1987-1988.
Lewin is the distinguished recipient of many awards in the field of advocacy training, including a 1990 Emil Gumpert Excellence in Trial Advocacy Award from the American College of Trial Lawyers; a 2018 Syracuse Law Honors Award from the Syracuse University Law Alumni Association; and a University Chancellor’s Citation for Academic Excellence. Stetson University College of Law has recognized Lewin’s work with its prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award for Excellence in Teaching Advocacy.
Retiring from the classroom in 2012, Lewin remains an active figure at the college, and he continues to support the Advocacy Honors Society, notably in the establishment of two scholarships for student advocates. The first scholarship honors his friend and teaching colleague Emil Rossi L’72. The second—the “Models of Excellence in Advocacy” scholarship—is given to a student who “exemplifies leadership, sportsmanship, and professionalism,” and is conferred in honor of an alumni of the program.