MU law alumnus gives $100,000 for trial practice program

Thursday, April 24, 2008 | 7:44 p.m. CDT; updated 5:31 p.m. CDT, Monday, July 21, 2008

COLUMBIA — A $100,000 endowment from MU law school alumnus Thomas E. Deacy Jr. will expand MU’s trial practice program.

The gift will allow the school to offer a new course, advanced trial practice, and provide funds to cover teaching expenses for the class.

“Trial practice is a very on your feet type of course,” said Larry Dessem, dean of the MU Law School. “They are not reading about law, they are in a simulated setting.” Students conduct examinations and cross-examinations under the supervision of a professor, who critiques their work.

Deacy graduated from MU in 1940 and practices law in Kansas City as co-founder and partner of Deacy & Deacy, LLP.

“Tom is a legendary example of a trial lawyer,” Dessem said.

Deacy is an active member of the American College of Trial Lawyers where he was formerly president, treasurer and regent. Among other things, the college is dedicated to maintaining and improving the standards of trial practice.

Deacy said that there is currently a major trend toward deciding cases without trial, but rather through mediation and arbitration. Deacy and other members of the ACTL are hoping to reverse this trend.

“I hope by giving law students appropriate training to get them in and effectively try cases, that the trend will swing the other way,” Deacy said.

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