MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — The newly-established Fitzsimmons Center for Litigation and Advocacy at the West Virginia University College of Law will provide additional opportunities for students to enhance essential lawyering skills—including understanding and analyzing the applicable substantive and procedural law while translating that knowledge into effective written and oral advocacy during the litigation process.
The Fitzsimmons Law Firm announced the Fitzsimmons Foundation pledged a gift of $1.25 million to establish the Center, which will have the goal to train law students to become effective legal advocates by enhancing and expanding the litigation and advocacy curriculum at the College.
Rocky, Bob and Clayton Fitzsimmons.
“We greatly appreciate this extremely generous gift, and we are excited about the opportunities it will create for our students,” said John Taylor, interim dean of the College of Law. “This gift will enable us to broaden and deepen our curriculum in litigation and advocacy skills so that our students will leave here with the best career preparation possible.”
WVU President Gordon Gee praised the gift:
“To educate our future leaders and fulfill our mission to serve the public good, West Virginia University depends on partners like the Fitzsimmons family,” Gee said. “Their vision and the generosity of their gift to the College of Law will help improve our justice system and make our communities — and the world — a better place.”
“Litigation and advocacy are key skills in the practice of law and with the creation of the Fitzsimmons Center for Litigation and Advocacy, generations of aspiring trial lawyers and litigators will now be able to receive more top level education and training in those areas here at WVU,” said Clayton Fitzsimmons, one of the owners and managing members of the Fitzsimmons Law Firm.
“We are also confident that the Center will further WVU’s College of Law’s standing as a national leader in legal education and serve to promote the practice of law in West Virginia and beyond,” added Rocky Fitzsimmons, also an owner and managing member of the firm.
Jessica Haught, teaching professor and interim associate dean for Administration, will serve as director of the Fitzsimmons Center for Litigation and Advocacy. She will work with her colleagues to develop courses and assist adjunct faculty with transferring their professional training and experiences to the classroom. A new Legal Advocacy Fellow will assist in curriculum development and course delivery.
“This Center will directly benefit our students by providing them with even more opportunities to be effective advocates for their clients and to practice the essential skills of lawyers,” she said. “I look forward to working with my colleagues at the College of Law to develop additional classes as well as engaging with members of the bench and bar to draw upon their expertise to offer specialized courses to advance our students' litigation and advocacy training.”
As part of the gift, the College of Law’s event hall is being named the Fitzsimmons Hall.
The gift was made through the WVU Foundation, the nonprofit organization that receives and administers private donations on behalf of West Virginia University.