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Loyola University New Orleans College of Law Celebrates $1 Million Gift

Loyola press release - March 1, 2018

Local legal legend, Danny Becnel, and retired judge, Mary Becnel help transform Loyola’s renowned Trial Advocacy Program; Danny and Mary Becnel’s gift puts Faith in the Future campaign at $85 million

Loyola University New Orleans College of Law celebrates a joyous new year with a generous $1 million gift that will endow and transform the law school’s well-known Trial Advocacy curriculum. The gift puts Loyola’s Faith in the Future campaign at $85 million of its $100 million goal, or 85 percent attainment. Following six record-setting years, the Faith in the Future campaign is the most ambitious and successful fundraising campaign in university history.

The generous $1 million gift bestowed by Loyola College of Law alumni, Mr. Daniel E. Becnel, Jr. J.D. ’69 and Retired District Court Judge Mary Hotard Becnel, J.D. ‘80 of LaPlace, La., will transform the opportunities available to all students by creating the Danny and Mary Becnel Trial Advocacy Program. The Program will be one of four critical pieces of the newly envisioned Advocacy Center – a Center that will serve as an umbrella for all advocacy-related programs, including Legal Research and Writing, Arbitration and Mediation, and Moot Court. The result will be a powerful and coordinated unit designed to prepare students for every type and phase of advocacy. The expanded program will not only enhance the student experience, but will offer practitioners a pathway to enhance their advocacy skills.

“Our current trial advocacy program is excellent. This gift, however, will transform it into one of the nation’s leading programs, ensuring that our students are not only ready to practice law, but are ready to do so with an ability to think critically and act justly,” said Dean and Judge Adrian G. Duplantier Professor of Law Madeleine Landrieu. “Through this generous gift, Loyola law students will now enjoy increased opportunities to hone and practice their skills before embarking on the professional careers.”

The Loyola University New Orleans College of Law created the Trial Advocacy Program in 1982 to prepare students for a smooth transition from the study of law to the practice of law by developing basic litigation skills that serve any area of legal practice. Long a pride and joy of Loyola, the program focuses on learning by doing with practical instruction, demonstrations, mock clients, feedback, and critique. Students also have the opportunity to further develop their skills in regional, state, and national competitions.

Retired District Court Judge Mary Hotard Becnel served 23 years as a trial judge in the 40th Judicial District Court in Louisiana, which is comprised of St. John the Baptist Parish, before retiring in late 2016. High-profile trial attorney Danny Becnel is recently retired from the Becnel Law Firm, which he founded. Several family members are also Loyola law alumni — namely, son Christopher Becnel, J.D.’ 05; son Bradley Becnel, J.D. ’03, and daughter-in-law Kathryn Becnel, J.D. ’95.

“Academic excellence and professional practice are hallmarks of an education at Loyola law school,” said Loyola University New Orleans President the Rev. Kevin Wm. Wildes, S.J., Ph.D. “With this generous gift, the Becnel family has propelled development opportunities not only for our students, but for lawyers around the region. Our entire community is grateful for their generosity and support.”

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