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UCLA School of Law Receives $1.25 Million Alumnus Gift to Support Teaching and Scholarship in Trial Advocacy
School Names Courtroom after Donor A. Barry Cappello
LOS ANGELES—UCLA School of Law is the recipient of a $1.25 million gift from alumnus A. Barry Cappello (Class of 1965) and his wife Lori. The gift will create an endowment to support UCLA Law’s teaching and research related to its trial practice and civil litigation programs. In recognition of this generosity and philanthropic leadership and to honor Barry Cappello’s legacy, UCLA School of Law will name its ceremonial courtroom the A. Barry Cappello Courtroom. UCLA Law will also name its trial advocacy clinic after Cappello.
The primary goal of the endowment is to provide funding to ensure the future strength and viability of the trial practice program and to ensure its presence in perpetuity as an important part of the educational course study at UCLA School of Law.
The A. Barry Cappello Courtroom will serve as UCLA Law’s primary courtroom where students compete in mock trials, moot courts and simulated trials, gaining experience arguing in a realistic courtroom environment. The Cappello Courtroom will be a center for academic endeavors and the teaching of trial practice at the law school. In addition, it will provide an excellent location for intimate lectures and faculty, alumni and attorney presentations.
The A. Barry Cappello Trial Advocacy Clinic is a year-long course that trains law students in the skills necessary to represent clients in pretrial and trial litigation. In the fall semester, students are systematically trained in trial advocacy techniques, and in the spring semester, they undertake representation of clients in actual hearings under faculty supervision.
The Cappello Endowment will also support a variety of academic needs in the areas of trial practice and civil litigation, including scholarships for the most outstanding and deserving students pursuing careers in trial practice, as well as funding for faculty research, guest lectures, mock trial and moot court activities, and clinical teaching and courses—all of the elements necessary to train successful trial lawyers.
“We are grateful that an attorney of Barry’s enormous success as a trial litigator has seen fit to help train and prepare the next generation of trial lawyers,” said Michael H. Schill, dean of UCLA School of Law. “We are extremely proud of Barry, and the fact that he is a UCLA Law alumnus makes his contribution that much more meaningful—to students, faculty and peer alumni. We are truly thankful for his leadership and generosity and for the support of his wife, Lori.”
The Cappello Endowment will also directly aid students by providing scholarships. This gift will ensure access to all students of merit, regardless of financial background or family heritage—the cornerstone of the foundation of UCLA School of Law. This gift will also support the core academic mission of school—training lawyers. The Cappello Endowment will enable UCLA Law to increase and expand its trial practice and civil litigation course offerings. It will also allow the school to offer special programs, such as guest lectures and symposia that will enrich the student experience at UCLA Law. Additionally, the gift will support key faculty scholarship.
Throughout his legal career, Cappello has achieved significant success. He is recognized as one of the nation’s leading trial lawyers and authorities on complex commercial litigation, including lender liability, class actions and environmental litigation.
“I am pleased and feel fortunate to have an opportunity to give back to UCLA School of Law. The school has been a positive force in my life,” commented Cappello. “UCLA Law helped me hone my competitive advantage and prepared me for my life’s work. Lori and I both know that this gift can provide these opportunities for future generations and touch, in a meaningful way, the lives of students.”
In talking to UCLA Law students last year as part of UCLA School of Law’s 8th Annual Irving H. Green Memorial Lecture, Cappello discussed the ways in which firms like his very own—Santa Barbara, Calif.-based Cappello & Noël LLP—can successfully prosecute massive toxic tort and complex business litigation cases. During his 40-year career, Cappello has successfully argued jury trials with total verdicts in excess of $250 million and has negotiated nearly $1 billion in settlements and workouts for his clients.
Cappello & Noël is the pioneer in the field of lender liability, an area of the law that has grown and matured significantly over the years and is now recognized as a distinct body of law that is the basis of thousands of lawsuits filed over the last decade. Cappello, who is managing partner of the firm, is the author of Lender Liability (800 pages, Juris Publishers), the first and leading treatise on the subject.
Before entering private practice, Cappello served a seven-year tenure as city attorney of Santa Barbara. During that period, he was the chief litigator against Union Oil, Mobil, Gulf and Texaco for the massive 1969 Santa Barbara Channel oil spill. The disaster and the ensuing litigation awakened the nation's consciousness to the dangers to our environment and the tragic consequences if not protected.
Earlier in his career, he served as assistant district attorney and chief trial deputy in the Santa Barbara County District Attorney's Office, where he prosecuted numerous murder, business crime and major felony cases. Cappello also served as a deputy attorney general for the State of California assigned to the special Trials and Investigations Division.
After graduating high school at age 16, Cappello worked full-time through college and law school, graduating from UCLA in 1962 with a bachelor’s degree in political science and from UCLA School of Law in 1965 with his law degree. He notes that if it weren’t for the accessibility to reasonable tuition at UCLA, he could have never accomplished his dream, since age 12, of becoming a trial lawyer.
Cappello has three adult children: Eric, a cable company executive; Blythe, vice president in charge of casting and series development at MTV; and Brent, a game company CEO. He and his wife Lori also have two young boys, Dominic and Vincent.
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Founded in 1949, UCLA School of Law is the youngest major law school in the nation and has established a tradition of innovation in its approach to teaching, research and scholarship. With approximately 100 faculty and 970 students, the school pioneered clinical teaching, is a leader in interdisciplinary research and training, and is at the forefront of efforts to link research to its effects on society and the legal profession.
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