January 9, 2024

Dordick Family Gift to Support Advocacy Training

By Joseph Wakelee-Lynch

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In September 2023, Gary and Nava Dordick made an $8 million commitment to the LMU Loyola Law School to support the school’s advocacy programs by establishing the LMU Loyola Law School Dordick Family Trial Advocacy Fund. 

The new fund will be used to strengthen academic programming, scholarships, and faculty and staff resources. In recognition of the family’s longtime support of the law school, the building that houses advocacy programs has been named the Dordick Family Trial Advocacy Center. 

Hands-on trial advocacy competitions are considered among the most effective elements in training future trial lawyers. The Dordick gift will broaden student participation in those competitions. Gary Dordick, who is head of the Dordick Law Corporation, has hired or worked with many LMU Loyola Law School alumni and has volunteered as a judge at many trial advocacy competitions. “I’ve frequently seen student advocates performing much better than the lawyers I’ve seen in courtrooms on a daily basis,” he says.

The law school’s advocacy programs are consistently ranked in the top 10 nationwide by U.S. News and World Report, with the Trial Advocacy Program ranked fifth in the nation in 2023. Two prominent programs are the Scott Moot Court Honors Program, in which upper-division students prepare briefs and present a judged oral argument for appellate competitions, and the Byrne Trial Advocacy Team, a competitive mock trial team emphasizing trial advocacy.

In addition to adding significantly to the school’s resources, the Dordick gift comes with a commitment to diversifying the legal profession. Brietta Clark, dean of the LMU Loyola Law School, considers that essential to practicing law today.

“As lawyers, we must step into the shoes of the clients we represent in order to gain a full understanding of what they need, how they’ve been injured, and what justice means to them,” Clark explains. “Then we must translate that information into effective advocacy, whether in settlement conferences, mediation, or court. This translation requires not only a mastery of the legal language, but also an ability to listen to, empathize with, and appreciate the experiences of the people coming to us for help.”

“Educating with purpose, LMU Loyola Law School is a premier law school in L.A. and the nation, and we are fortunate to have Nava and Gary Dordick as our partners,” says LMU President Timothy Law Snyder, Ph.D. “I am grateful for the Dordick family’s generosity and inspired by their vision for the future of legal education. This gift will have a transformative impact on our students, faculty, and the expansion of our marquee advocacy programs.”

For Susan Poehls, LLS ’89, director of Trial Advocacy Programs and the William C. Hobbs Professor of Trial Advocacy, the Dordicks’ decision has long-term effects as well as an immediate impact.

When students see people like Gary and Nava Dordick investing in our program,” Poehls says, “they want to come back as alumni volunteers or donors. Not everyone can make a gift of this size like Gary and Nava Dordick did, but they can be inspired by them.”

The Dordick family’s connections to the law school are deeper than simply working with alumni in the office. Nava Dordick, who is the CFO/administrator of the family firm, received her law degree from the law school in 2023. Daughter Taylor graduated from the law school in 2019 and from LMU in 2015 from the LMU College of Business Administration. To support LMU Loyola Law School students through scholarships, contact Jamal Barakat, director of development, at 310.568.7148; jamal.barakat@lmu.edu.