Supporting what is rapidly becoming one of the top law school trial programs in the country, UCLA Law alumnus A. Barry Cappello ’65 has pledged to donate an additional $500,000 to UCLA School of Law’s Cappello Program in Trial Advocacy. The gift raises Cappello’s total donations to UCLA Law to $2.75 million.
The new funds will support additional scholarships for students committed to trial advocacy, expenses for the school’s faculty-supervised trial competition team, and upgrades to the A. Barry Cappello Courtroom at UCLA Law. Through the UCLA Centennial Scholars Match initiative, UCLA will donate an additional $150,000 to Cappello Program scholarships.
“When I attended UCLA Law more than 50 years ago, the school did not have a trial advocacy curriculum,” Cappello said. “Working with school leaders over the last several years, we have created a world-class program with a robust schedule of classes, a certificate and endowed scholarships for students committed to the art of courtroom advocacy, a leading trial team and a state-of-the-art courtroom. Giving back to UCLA Law and helping to create opportunities for the next generation of trial lawyers has been enormously satisfying for me.”
The managing partner of Santa Barbara-based Cappello and Noël, Cappello has earned in excess of $1 billion in verdicts and settlements for his clients. He served as lead counsel on important cases protecting the Santa Barbara coast from oil spills and ensuring that the rights of minority voters in Santa Barbara County are protected under the Voting Rights Act. Cappello also has handled cases involving intellectual property and lending discrimination, and is the author of “Lender Liability,” now in its fifth edition. He previously served as Santa Barbara City Attorney, assistant district attorney in the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s office and deputy attorney general for the State of California.
Cappello earned his undergraduate and law degrees at UCLA. He is a member of the UCLA Law Board of Advisors.
In 2006, Cappello made a $1.25 million commitment to the law school, to support the trial advocacy program and create the A. Barry Cappello Courtroom. The courtroom has hosted proceedings of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit and Ninth Circuit, and is home to the Cappello Courtroom Series: The Art of the Trial, a twice-annual lecture in which Cappello is joined by top trial and appellate attorneys.
In 2017, Cappello made a $1 million gift to UCLA Law’s trial advocacy program. The school subsequently brought on its first trial advocacy director — veteran litigator and legal educator Justin Bernstein — and further bolstered its trial advocacy education and competition efforts. In addition, the school awarded its first certificates in trial advocacy to students who completed a specialized curriculum and provided Cappello scholarships to several students who demonstrated commitment to the field.
Under Bernstein’s direction, student interest in trial competitions more than doubled, and every graduating member of the 2018-19 trial team secured a full-time job in the law before graduation. The UCLA trial team won three tournaments in the 2018-19 academic year and made the playoffs in all eight of the competitions it entered. In honor of Cappello’s most recent philanthropic commitment, UCLA’s trial team will be named the A. Barry Cappello Trial Team at UCLA School of Law.
“Barry Cappello’s commitment to UCLA Law has created outstanding opportunities for our students,” said UCLA Law Dean Jennifer Mnookin. “Trial work requires lawyers to have a wide range of abilities, from command of case law to excellence in legal research, writing and oral argument. These practical skills are extremely important for today’s law graduates, and UCLA Law is very fortunate to have Barry Cappello as a partner.”
The gift is part of the $4.2 billion Centennial Campaign for UCLA, which is scheduled to conclude in December 2019 during UCLA’s 100th anniversary year.