University of Arizona Law breaks ground to create fully functional, state-of-the-art spaces that give students experience in modern courtroom settings.
Construction began this January on two new state-of-the-art courtrooms, classrooms and lobby spaces as part of the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law’s “A New Day in Court” initiative in support of its advocacy program. The upgraded spaces are expected to be completed in the fall of 2024.
The project, launched in 2017, also includes renaming the advocacy program to the Thomas Mauet Advocacy Program, in honor of Professor Emeritus and renowned trial expert Thomas Mauet, who retired as advocacy program director in 2016.
“With the start of this project, we are not just laying the foundation for physical transformation, we are investing in the future of legal education and nurturing the spirit of wonder that defines our university,” said University of Arizona President Robert C. Robbins. “This project, made possible through the support of our community and the vision of the Fuel Wonder campaign, symbolizes our commitment to excellence in all facets of learning. The Fuel Wonder campaign is not just about raising funds, it is about igniting a sense of curiosity and possibility in our students. This courtroom renovation, a vital part of that vision, will empower aspiring legal professionals to explore, question, and excel in an ever-evolving legal landscape.”
In making this project a reality, the College of Law community has raised more than $4.5 million, entirely through donor contributions, for building renovations and plans to raise another $4 million for an endowed chair of advocacy, an endowed professorship and an endowment fund to support student experiential advocacy activities such as travel to trial competitions.
To date there have been nearly 150 donors to the project. Fundraising continues to complete the new furniture for the spaces. Six and seven figure major gifts by many alumni, friends, and firms have led the way including from Kevin R. Boyle (’97); Rick Fried (’66); J. Michael Hennigan (’70) and family; Ralph Mazzeo (‘97); Patrick McGroder (’70); Perry Rogers (‘94); Dee Dee Samet (‘63); the Rogers Foundation; the firms of Aspey, Watkins & Diesel; Beale, Micheaels, Slack & Shugart and members of the firm; Farhang & Medcoff; Gammage & Burnham and members of the firm; Goldberg & Osborne; Mac Ban Law Offices; Rusing Lopez & Lizardi; and Schmidt, Sethi & Akmajian and members of the firm.
Modern Spaces for Modern Legal Professionals
The practice of law has evolved tremendously since the college's current courtroom spaces were built in 1977, with the COVID-19 pandemic accelerating change even more. With the "A New Day in Court" initiative, University of Arizona Law will create fully functional, state-of-the-art spaces that give students experience in modern courtroom settings.
“In the field of trial advocacy, where the art of persuasion meets the rigor of legal strategy, having state-of-the-art facilities is paramount,” explained Barbara Bergman, director of the college’s advocacy program. “These upgraded courtrooms will serve as incubators for the trial lawyers of tomorrow, providing an immersive and technologically advanced environment that mirrors the challenges they will face in real-world courtrooms.”
The planned renovations will overhaul the college's existing trial courtroom in order to integrate modern technology throughout the space including professional presentation, recording and streaming equipment. A 12-seat jury box, witness stand, defendant’s and plaintiff’s/prosecutor’s tables, a dual-purpose jury deliberation/conference room and a viewing gallery with seating for 50 will also be added. In addition, the college’s current appellate courtroom will be upgraded to become a flexible space that doubles as a classroom. The courtroom arrangement will include a judge’s bench with seating for five judges and a viewing gallery with seating for 36. The lobby space adjacent to the courtrooms will be renovated to provide a view of courtroom activities plus new study spaces with enhanced audiovisual capabilities.
“This groundbreaking marks a significant milestone for our college,” said Marc Miller, dean of University of Arizona Law. “As we embark on this journey, we are not just renovating physical spaces; we are investing in the future of legal education and bolstering our nationally ranked advocacy program, aligning with our mission to produce well-rounded, skilled advocates who will make meaningful contributions to the legal profession.”