Our Pro Bono Collaborative mobilizes Rhode Island law firms, law students and community organizations to provide desperately needed legal assistance for the underserved residents of the state. The unique program includes 10 major law firms, over 20 community-based organizations and several dozen law students.
The Trial Team at RWU Law provides an invaluable experience for students who have the requisite talent, dedication, and interest in courtroom litigation. Students are taught not only how to think like trial attorneys, but how to be trial attorneys. Each year, team members compete in regional and national trial competitions that provide an opportunity to test their skills against law students from around the country. RWU Law has a history of excellence at these competitions.
Students compete for a place on the Trial Team through a tryout process. Tryouts are held during the fall semester. The tryout process is open to 2L and 3L students. The Trial Team for any given year is determined by the coach’s assessment of each student’s performance in the tryout and, where relevant, the student’s past performance on Trial Team.
The RWU Law Trial Team has benefitted from great coaching over the years, including coaches who are 1) members of the full-time faculty, teach trial advocacy and related courses, and have considerable trial experience, and 2) experienced and highly-skilled trial judges who serve as members of our adjunct or visiting faculty. As a result, our team members are well prepared to enter any courtroom and succeed.
Currently, the team is coached by David Coombs, who is serving as the Chief Justice Joseph R. Weisberger Visiting Professor of Law. Professor Coombs has tried over 100 cases, and he is well known throughout the country and the world as the lawyer who represented PFC Chelsea Manning in what has become known as the Wikileaks trial. He is also a gifted teacher, having been selected by the Class of 2016 to receive its Adjunct Professor of the Year award.
The Trial Team is also benefitting from the support of Roberts, Carroll, Feldstein & Peirce, a Providence, Rhode Island law firm with a rich history of exceptional trial lawyers. In order to encourage students to become more skilled in trial advocacy while in law school (given that training on the job is more difficult in these days of “the vanishing trial”) the firm is funding a scholarship award for a 2L who excels as a member of the Trial Team – The Roberts, Carroll, Feldstein & Peirce Scholarship for Excellence in Trial Advocacy.
To learn more about RWU Law’s Trial Team, please contact Professor David Coombs at firstname.lastname@example.org