The Whittier Experience

Kiesel Advocacy Center Opens


New Kiesel Advocacy Center Opens

Whittier Law School recently completed construction of the Kiesel Advocacy Center, a new 4,400 square foot courtroom that contains a spectator gallery of 134 seats, a jury deliberation room and judge’s chamber
Combining natural stone, elegant hardwoods and the newest technologies, the courtroom provides a sophisticated environment for students to practice for mock trial and appellate competitions.

The Kiesel Advocacy Center will provide a high-tech, multipurpose facility where we can:

  • Train our students in practical legal skills using today’s technology
  • Host national and regional trial and appellate competitions
  • Offer to alumni and the community as a striking venue for a variety of uses
  • Allow local courts to conduct actual trial and appellate proceedings
  • Host conferences attracting regional, national and international leaders and academics

The courtroom was designed to provide law students with even more opportunity for practice-oriented education, but also provides a bridge between Whittier Law School and the entire Orange County legal community. Whittier plans to make the courtroom available to alumni and the Orange County legal community to rehearse high-stakes trials or to hold actual trials or arbitrations outside the formal court system.

This elegant venue has been purposefully designed to support a vast array of activities for students, scholars, lawyers, judges and community leaders.It will create a stronger link between the legal community and Whittier Law School. In addition, with state budget cuts and reduced public access to courtrooms, Whittier plans to make the Kiesel Advocacy Center available to local courts to conduct actual trial and appellate proceedings. Penelope Bryan, dean of Whittier Law School, says, “Students can not only practice in the new courtroom, but they will be able to observe actual trials without having to leave the campus. We can hold proceedings right here.”

The courtroom was designed by John Secor of Archetype International, and funded by donations, including a major donation by Paul Kiesel, a partner in the law firm of Kiesel + Larson LLP, Beverly Hills. Kiesel graduated from Whittier Law School in 1985, and was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Law in 2005.

“From its planning stages, I intended the Kiesel Advocacy Center to create greater engagement between Whittier Law School and the entire legal community,” said Kiesel. “Whittier has a very rich tradition of training advocates who represent those who would otherwise be without a voice. I hope the Center inspires future generations of advocates.”

Whittier Law School students recently began to practice for national and regional trial and appellate competitions in the Kiesel Advocacy Center, using state-of-the-art technology to introduce evidence to the jury. According to Professor Martin Pritikin, the Associate Dean of Experiential Learning, “Whittier Law School is moving further in the direction or providing experiential learning opportunities for our students. The courtroom is a large step in that direction, where our students can learn not only to think like lawyers, but to act like lawyers. We will be training them to hit the ground running once they graduate.”

Jury RoomJudge’s Chambers