Holding Court

When Tom More Phillips first stepped into the LSU Law Center in 1949, he wasn’t just beginning his classes. He was beginning his legacy—a legacy that continues today through the establishment of the Tom Fore Phillips National Moot Court Team endowment at the LSU Law Center.

Phillips’ dedication to the moot court program began his senior year of law school when he and his teammates won the Law Center’s prestigious moot court trial competition. Throughout his 50-year legal career at Taylor, Porter, Brooks & Phillips in Baton Rouge, he continued to participate in the moot court program as a volunteer judge.

After Phillips passed away in 2011, his friends and family rallied to donate more than $100,000 in his memory to establish the endowment to support and name the Tom Fore Phillips National Moot Court Team at the LSU Law Center. Their generosity will generate annual funds to help the team cover the costs of out-of-state competitions and traveling expenses.

“This generous gift is a recognition of the important role skills training plays in preparing law students to enter the practice of law,” shared Professor Jeff Brooks, Preis and Roy Director of Advocacy and Professional Practice. “Moot court gives law students the chance to hone their oral advocacy and legal writing skills, and develops students’ competence in the courtroom. The LSU Law Center’s moot court program has consistently been recognized as one of the top programs in the nation. The Phillips National Moot Court Team endowment will give some of our best advocates the ability to compete against other top schools.”

Phillips’ obituary noted that he was the consummate trial lawyer, “and, in fact, the consummate every kind of lawyer, practicing in any area to which his clients called for his services, and mastering them all. He practiced law with fierce devotion to his clients, while maintaining a professional and courteous demeanor, and was mentor to a collection of young lawyers too many to count.”

The gift continues Phillips’ legacy not only as a moot court champion, but also as an exceptional trial attorney by helping to prepare future attorneys and litigators. Because the fund is endowed, it will provide annual financial support in perpetuity for students following in Phillips’ footsteps. Today, the law school has over 25 moot court teams, through which students travel to competitions that simulate court proceedings, including written and oral components.

Published in Cornerstone Summer and Fall 2015.

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