Dec. 13, 2016 - University of Houston Law Center adjunct professor Jim Perdue Sr. recently opened up his home to students, alumni and Dean Leonard M. Baynes to celebrate the season and a semester well done.
The students were from Perdue's storytelling class, which is limited to 12 people.
"The party gives students exposure to people outside of their classmates, people in the real world," Perdue said. "It also gives me a chance to get to know them even better on a social basis, and them to know me on a social basis. Hopefully it continues relationships past graduation.
"We were so glad Dean Baynes could find the time in his busy schedule to attend. I know my students, former students and other supporters enjoyed visiting."
Perdue said a different approach to trial advocacy is what sets his class apart. His course encourages students to present evidence with an eye towards developing a story.
"The premise of my class is a pretty simple one and that is a trial is not a debate, it is a competition of stories," Perdue said. "The problem is, most lawyers and even judges on the bench will look at a trial as though it was a debate and it's not. The strongest story wins.
"Not many law schools have evolved yet to making that a central aspect of their trial advocacy programs."
Perdue, a 1963 alumnus of the Law Center, is closing in on nine years in his third stint as an adjunct professor. He previously taught from 1974-1982 and again in 1989. His current storytelling class is one of the most sought-after courses by Law Center students, and usually fills up instantly. Part of its acclaim is the one-on-one attention students receive to help develop their trial advocacy skills.
"We have a lot of individual mentoring in my class," Perdue said. "I keep it limited because I want to have time to work with them individually, in class and out of class. That's why I limit it and that's one of the reasons it's popular.
The size of Perdue's class has created lasting bonds between him and his student. He said he hopes to continue to use his annual holiday party as a networking opportunity for alumni and students alike.
"I've had a lot of students who have been successful practicing attorneys for years," Perdue said. "I still hear from them and still consider them friends. I'll take that as an accomplishment and great honor that they see me that way."