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Alumnus Gives $100,000 to Expand MU Law School's Trial Practice Program

April 24, 2008

Story Contact:  Emily Smith, (573) 882-3346,

COLUMBIA, Mo. – The prosecution cross-examines the accused. The defense makes a case for its client during closing arguments. It appears to be a real trial, but the room is full of University of Missouri law students and nobody has broken the law. Although it’s not the real justice system, students learn important skills by participating in the MU trial practice program. Now, a $100,000 gift from MU law school alumnus Thomas Deacy will enhance the existing trial practice program.

The Thomas E. Deacy Jr. Trial Practice Endowment will expand the school’s trial practice offerings, provide more extensive training and trial practice skills, and help attract students with an interest in trial practice. Trial practice is a component of several law classes and gives students experience preparing for a trial, handling clients and cases, and appearing before a judge.

“Litigation and trying cases in court are very important in the administration of justice,” Deacy said. “A trend away from trials is threatening this important aspect of the court system and needs to be turned around. Teaching law students these important skills will be helpful to the restoration of this practice. I hope this investment will help counter the trends to other methods of dispute resolution.”

Deacy was born in Kansas City, where he currently practices as co-founder and partner of Deacy & Deacy, LLP. Deacy received his juris doctor degree from MU in 1940. He is an active member, former regent, treasurer, and president of the American College of Trial Lawyers. The college is dedicated to maintaining and improving the standards of trial practice, the administration of justice and the ethics of the law profession.

“Tom Deacy is truly a ‘trial lawyer’s trial lawyer.’ He has set the standard for trial lawyers across the nation, and his leadership within the American College of Trial Lawyers (ACTL) has inspired and motivated attorneys and law students to strive for the excellence that Deacy’s career has epitomized,” said Larry Dessem, dean of the MU School of Law.

On April 18, Deacy was honored during ACTL Day at the MU School of Law. Missouri members of ACTL ate lunch with students and led a program entitled, “Voir Dire in a Legal Malpractice Suit,” in the Hulston Hall courtroom. Support from Deacy and the ACTL Foundation made the program possible.

The Thomas E. Deacy Jr. Trial Practice Endowment supports the For All We Call Mizzou campaign, which will celebrate raising $1 billion in the spring of 2009. Reaching this goal will enhance MU’s ability to compete nationally and internationally for the best students and faculty and will provide broad access for students of all economic backgrounds to Missouri’s flagship University. The campaign has raised $920.54 million, 92 percent of the goal.