Fred Bartlit Center for Trial Strategy Formed


" ...dedicated to teaching and researching innovative and technologically advanced trial strategy."

At a dedication ceremony on June 15, 1999 Northwestern University School of Law announced the establishment of a new center dedicated to innovative and technologically advanced trial strategies.

Named in honor of an innovative leader in litigation and business strategies, the Fred Bartlit Center for Trial Strategy was made possible by a $2 million gift from lawyers at his firm, Bartlit Beck Herman Palenchar & Scott LLP. The effort was led by J. Landis Martin, Law School class of 1973, chair of the Law School's campaign steering committee and chairman and chief executive officer of TIMET, and Skip Herman, Law School class of 1978 and managing partner of Bartlit Beck. 

The gift was kept secret from Bartlit until it was announced at the dedication ceremony which was attended by Bartlit's colleagues, clients and friends.

"The generosity of these lawyers allows the Law School to build upon its comparative advantage in litigation, an area that is targeted in our new strategic plan," said David E. Van Zandt, dean of the Law School. "The Bartlit Center offers a significant boost to the plan upon which our recently announced fund-raising campaign was based. It also pushes the campaign over the $40 million level—and closer to our ultimate goal of $60 million."

The Bartlit Center will sponsor and conduct high quality academic research on the litigation process; support teaching skills in the J. D. program; and hold an annual national conference to explore and teach innovative trial and trial management strategies.

"Few lawyers are as closely identified with leading and managing change as Fred Bartlit," said Van Zandt. ""Throughout his career, Fred has looked for ways to improve how lawyers conduct trials and how they do business."

"We are delighted to have the opportunity to honor our partner Fred Bartlit for his contribution to our firm, to the practice of law and to the legal and business community," said Bartlit partner Herman. "We also are pleased to be able to advance Northwestern's outstanding reputation in trial advocacy. The Law School already is well known for laying the important groundwork necessary for a career in litigation, and its competitiveness in this area has resulted in many honors in trial competitions." 

"I am deeply touched and overwhelmed by the generosity of my partners and colleagues," said Bartlit. "This is a great honor for me, but also for those with whom I've worked as we have tried to set a standard for excellence and innovation in trial work."

His firm, Bartlit Beck Herman Palenchar & Scott LLP, is widely hailed for its pioneering work in successful cost effective trial strategies, predictable and value-based billing and results-oriented litigation. According to a recent National Law Journal article on "The 100 Most Influential Lawyers," the firm "is now the nation's hottest defense boutique, with a roster of litigation stars; the attorneys at Bartlit Beck try cases all over the country, often the bet-your-company variety, with an unparalleled record of success." The article described Fred Bartlit as "personally one of the most successful corporate defense litigators ever, with a long history of big wins."

The Bartlit Center will enhance the Law School's already highly regarded program in the simulation-based teaching of trial skills and build on the research produced by Northwestern Law faculty. The trial advocacy program was ranked second in the country by U. S. News and World Report.

"The trial advocacy training, including participation in national moot court competitions, turns out students who become formidable, ethical and creative trial lawyers, " said Van Zandt. "And the Bartlit Center for Trial Strategy will allow us to further concentrate on what we do best, providing a forum, through its annual conference, to bring together leaders in this area to share innovative research and ideas about trial strategies."

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