Becoming a Member of the The Academy of Trial Lawyers

Becoming a Member of the The Academy of Trial Lawyers

Academy of Trial Lawyers

In 1958, a post-war increase in litigation and the growing number of automobiles on the road led to a judicial system that was in shambles. Cases were backlogged, and lawyers were overworked, which led to an increase in distrust of attorneys. That iswhen James McArdle, Sanford Chilcote, Robert Brennan, and Joseph Weis, Jr. decided to take action.

They formed the Academy of Trial Lawyers in 1959. The Academy’s 60 members began their fight to improve the reputation of the judicial system, as well as improve the judicial system itself. By instilling quality characteristics in its members, the Academy of Trial Lawyers worked to better the litigation process in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania.

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Their Mission

The Academy of Trial Lawyers has grown a lot since 1959. During the 1980s and ‘90s, they helped oversee jury trials of arbitration appeals, which led the organization to become the majority source of arbitrators for the Western District. Today, they perform a variety of functions through their outreach programs and membership activities.

While their role in the community has changed over the years as well, their purpose, as defined by their former president, Dennis St. J. Muvihill, is to be “a community of lawyers concerned with excellence. The excellence cultivated within [the] Academy in turn serves the larger community.”

The Benefits

If you are one of the lucky Pennsylvania trial lawyers that is offered membership to this prestigious group, then you will benefit exponentially. You will form professional relationships with some of the most important people in Pennsylvania law.

In addition, your skills and ethics will be consistently tested. You will be among Pennsylvania’s 375 lawyers with the most civility, competence, and integrity. Also, you will be able to participate in group activities that help better the law community in our state. Your mark on the judicial system will be made through mock trial events, CLE programs, and many other outreach activities.


Being admitted as a member of The Academy of Trial Lawyers can be a difficult process. You can find a more detailed list of eligibility requirements on their website. However, the main steps of admission are outlined below:Trial Presentations

  1. You are nominated by a current member. Since the organization is an invitation-only group, a current member must submit you for consideration.
  2. Every member of the academy is surveyed independently. This is done confidentially, as to protect the integrity of the process.
  3. If the Board of Governors approves you, then the entire membership will vote on your acceptance into the academy. Each fall, this induction takes place at the Annual Masters of Trial Advocacy Retreat.

The Academy of Trial Lawyers has been working diligently to improve the quality of the judicial system since its establishment in 1958. If you are accepted as a member of the organization, the benefits will be endless.

However, the Academy still helps those outside its membership. By participating in their outreach programs, you can improve the quality of the judicial system. Remember, Constance Lee & Company is here to help, too. We can provide you with the best Pennsylvania court reporters. We’ll help you make your mark, one case at a time.

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