Intensive Trial Advocacy Program receives generous gift from Jim Basile ’86, ’89 J.D.

Author: Charles Williams


A generous gift from Kirkland & Ellis partner Jim Basile ’86, ’89 J.D., will enable Notre Dame Law School to bring more outstanding trial attorneys and judges from around the country to Notre Dame to teach in its renowned Intensive Trial Advocacy Program.

G. Marcus Cole, the Joseph A. Matson Dean and Professor of Law at Notre Dame Law School, said, “The program in trial advocacy has proven to be one of the most important experiences for law students seeking to build competency for litigation practice. Jim’s gift makes it possible for our students to learn from the top trial lawyers in the nation. We cannot thank him and other generous alumni enough for the experiential learning opportunities they afford the next generation of Notre Dame Lawyers.”

JamesbasileJim Basile '86, '89 J.D.

Basile, a litigator for 30 years and now the partner in charge of Kirkland's firmwide trial advocacy program, the Kirkland Institute for Trial Advocacy, is also an adjunct professor at the Law School. He says he was inspired to establish the James F. Basile Fund for Excellence in Trial Advocacy by Notre Dame’s long history of training trial practitioners to make a difference in society. “A hallmark of the Law School is that it produces technically skilled lawyers, committed to the craft of trial practice and thus equipped to make real the mission of bringing Notre Dame values to bear in the daily life of the law across the nation. I am hopeful that tradition will be maintained for future generations of Notre Dame students by the further development of the ITA Program in the coming years.”

The Law School’s Intensive Trial Advocacy Program is offered each semester. Students return to school one week before the semester begins for the eight-day intensive week. Classes meet from 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. each day and students learn trial skills from experienced lawyers and judges.

Professor John Conway, who has succeeded Professor Jim Seckinger, the founder and creator of the Intensive Trial Advocacy Program, as director, said the “structure of the intensive week is designed to maximize students’ learning of critical trial advocacy skills and provide them with a simulated environment in which they can practice those skills. The week features long days of drill segments and lectures covering every aspect of trial practice and culminates with all students participating in both a bench trial and a jury trial.”

Ita Johnconway 08Professor John Conway teaches during the Law School's Intensive Trial Advocacy Program on August 21, 2019. Photo by Alicia Sachau/Notre Dame Law School.

Bringing prominent trial attorneys to Notre Dame to teach in the program is the key to ITA’s success. The program also features experienced judges who preside over the trials and provide valuable feedback on the students’ performances during the intensive week.

Conway emphasized the importance of the Basile Fund.

“Jim’s support of ITA through the Basile Fund provides crucial funding for the Intensive Trial Advocacy Program,” Conway said. “The generous gift provides the resources necessary to bring experienced lawyers and judges from around the country to Notre Dame to share their time and talent with aspiring trial attorneys.”