May 4, 2011
Michael Sands, former director of the Center for Legal Advocacy at McGeorge, was honored for his role in building the nationally ranked program on April 28, 2011, at the Advocacy Awards Ceremony.
Professor Sands, long recognized as one of the best criminal defense attorneys in Northern California, took over the program in 1990 and led it for six years. He transformed the Trial Advocacy course into the most popular elective on campus with the addition of actual sitting judges and jurors drawn from a huge community pool.
"We had not won an advocacy award in one-and-a-half decades," said Professor Joe Taylor, who joined the faculty a year after Sands came on board and worked closely with him. "This program was built by Mike Sands. With the school's financial support, we started taking the best students from our program on the road and winning competitions. It was all made possible by Mike's hard work."
"I am so proud of McGeorge and all the success that its advocacy teams have achieved the year and in recent ones," said Sands. "I thought I was here to watch the students receive awards and was very surprised to receive this honor myself. McGeorge's advocacy programs are nationally recognized, and I'm just so proud to have been a small part of it."
Sands enjoyed a long and distinguished career outside of legal education. Early in his career, he served for five years as Sacramento County assistant public defender. He was elected to the Sacramento City Council and served for eight years, four of them as vice mayor. He has also served as president of the Sacramento County Bar Association.