J. Steven Beckett

Director of the Trial Advocacy Program
Lecturer in Law

Professor J. Steven Beckett is the director of Trial Advocacy at the College of Law. He teaches skills training courses in trial advocacy and client counseling, fact investigation and interviewing (CFI), and teaches substantive law courses in evidence and white collar crime. He has been on the faculty of the College of Law since 1987.

Professor Beckett is a native of Urbana and is currently of counsel to the Urbana firm, Beckett & Webber, P.C. that he founded in 1988. Professor Beckett was listed in the 2007-2008 Top 100 Attorneys list by Leading Lawyers Network. He has practiced law in Champaign-Urbana since 1973 with a primary focus in litigation and appeals, both criminal and civil. He appeared in the United States Supreme Court on two occasions, in 1977 (argued) and 1987, with both cases focusing on First Amendment issues. He has appeared in trial and/or appellate courts, state and federal, in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, Nebraska and North Dakota, and in the 6th, 7th, 8th and Federal Circuit Courts of Appeal.

He has published articles in peer review journals on a variety of criminal, civil and constitutional law subjects. He has written or edited books on deposition practice and has also made presentations in symposia, at state and national attorney organizations, and at college and law schools on the same subjects.

Professor Beckett is a 1973 graduate of the University of Illinois College of Law. He holds awards from the Illinois Public Defenders Association and the Champaign County American Civil Liberties Union, and was president of the First Amendment Lawyers Association. He has authored several articles, including "Whatever Happened to the Bill of Rights? A Criminal Defense Lawyer's Perspective," published in the 1992 University of Illinois Law Review.