TU College of Law and TCBA Bar & Bench Committee announce TU Docket

Monday, August 19, 2013

The University of Tulsa College of Law and Tulsa County Bar Association introduce pioneer program for law students

The University of Tulsa College of Law and the Tulsa County Bar Association are working together to meet the needs of the changing landscape of legal practice.  In an effort to bring innovative, unique and educational programs about the legal profession to lawyers, judges, faculty members, and students, the two organizations will team up on several initiatives during the 2013-2014 academic year. One of these endeavors, the TU Docket, began in spring 2013 and was initiated by TCBA’s Bench & Bar Committee.

The TU Docket brings actual court cases to the law school’s state-of-the-art Price & Turpen Courtroom.  On Friday, August 23, 2013, as part of required law school orientation, the incoming class of 1L students will attend a TU docket comprised of two complex civil cases and at least six felony cases. TCBA Bench & Bar chair Michael S. Ashworth and committee member, Randall Gill, will brief students on the cases they are about to hear.  District Judge Daman Cantrell, a trial judge in the Civil Division of Tulsa County, will then preside over two cases in which hotly contested oral arguments will be presented.  “This is an exciting opportunity for all concerned and exemplifies the cooperative efforts of TU Law and TCBA and their joint ‘outside the box’ efforts to serve our communities with highly trained legal professionals,” stated Ashworth.

The first case to be heard will be a torts case alleging wrongful death involving a male who died in an emergency room waiting area after being told to be seated.  The second is a contracts case with mixed questions of law and equity, surrounding the issue of whether there is a right to jury trial for the equitable remedy of contract rescission. Later in the day, District Judge Bill Musseman, a trial judge in the Criminal Division of Tulsa County, will preside over a docket of 6-10 felony cases which will include pleas and sentencing proceedings.  Deputies will be present and possibly in-custody defendants and their family members. After the formal hearings, the judges will do a limited debrief of the students, which will be digitized for archival purposes.

TU College of Law Dean of Students, Martha Cordell will assist Ashworth and Gill on debriefing the approximately 72 first year law student orientees. "We are honored to have the Tulsa County District Court hold hearings in the College of Law for our entering 1L class.  This unique experience provides our entering class with an opportunity to see the legal issues in most of their first year courses (Torts, Contracts, Civil Procedure, Criminal Law) actually litigated in a real-life courtroom setting.  Most students start their legal studies focusing solely on the "theory," but this experience introduces them to the practical application of the law from day one."

Heather Palacios