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College of Law Moot Court Teams Garner Success and Acclaim at Regional and National Competitions

Posted on Friday 4/21/2017
Dineen Hall

The College of Law’s Moot Court Honor Society intercollegiate competition teams completed a successful spring, with several teams advancing deep in competitions and a number of students receiving individual honors. 

“Congratulations to all the students who put in the time and effort to excel in these highly competitive events,” said Kathleen O’Connor, Faculty Director of the Moot Court Honor Society. “We are pleased we can offer our students these opportunities to develop their advocacy skills and improve their legal writing skills. We also thank all the coaches who provide the students with invaluable instruction and guidance during countless hours of preparation and practice.”

American Association for Justice Student Trial Advocacy Competition

The College of Law team consisting of Sally Ashkar 3L, Yolanda Beasley 3L, Nick Dellefave 2L and Jennifer Pratt 2L won the AAJ Regional competition held March 9-12, 2017 in Philadelphia.  The Syracuse team won each of its five trials through the regional rounds of competition, facing law school teams from Penn State, Villanova, Seton Hall and Drexel to win the Regional competition.  The team advanced to the national round held in Cleveland, Ohio.  

The Student Trial Advocacy Competition is sponsored by the American Association for Justice, which seeks to inspire trial advocacy excellence through this student competition.  This year’s problem was a civil case based on the Pokémon Go game.  

Joanne VanDyke L’87 coached the AAJ Mock Trial Team, and the team alternates were Tom DeBernardis 2L and Raul Velez 2L.

American Bar Association National Appellate Advocacy Competition

The ABA National Appellate Advocacy team advanced to the semi-final round of the regional competition held in Brooklyn, New York.  This is the best result for this team in recent history!  In addition, judges recognized Aya Hoffman 2L, among the competition’s best overall oralists for the regional competition.

We commend all three Syracuse team members –Hoffman, Ryan Lefkowitz 2L and Megan Thomas 3L - for their hard work, professionalism, and fantastic arguments.  In addition, alternate Veronica Ramirez 2L worked tirelessly to help prepare the team for the competition.  Congratulations ABA National Appellate Advocacy team!

Professor Shannon Ryan coached the ABA National Appellate Advocacy team.

Duberstein Bankruptcy Moot Court Competition

Second-year students Joshua Baumann, Ian Ludd and Erin Shea recently competed in the 25th Annual Duberstein Moot Court Competition in New York City.  Students submitted an appellate brief and presented three appellate arguments during the competition.  The Duberstein competition is an appellate competition sponsored by the American Bankruptcy Institute (ABI) and St. John’s University School of Law.  The competition’s problem focuses on significant issues in bankruptcy practice.  

Coach Ed Fintel L’84, Esq. prepared the team well with practice arguments leading up to the competition.  Local bankruptcy practitioners evaluated practice rounds and assisted students for weeks in advance of the competition.  Thank you, coach Fintel and congratulations Duberstein Team!

Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition Team

The 2017 Jessup team of Andrew Dieselman 3L, Sean Mills 3L, Ethan Peterson 3L, Colin Tansits 3L, and alternate Samantha Netzband 2L, did a fantastic job in four tough rounds at the New York regional earlier this month.

The team received high (and deserved) praise from all the panels before which they argued.  One of the judges emphasized that this particular region’s competition is by far the most difficult region in the world and stated that the arguments she’d just heard (on both sides—from Syracuse and Cornell) were—in her estimation--strong enough to be finalists in the global competition.  

Unfortunately, although SUCOL’s team did a bang-up job, they did not advance.  Rather, three of their four opponents - Harvard, Cornell and St. John’s - advanced and battled for the final rounds. The luck of the draw did not work to our advantage, and yet our students held their own and really did SUCOL proud. Congratulations Jessup Team!

Professor Cora True-Frost L’01 coached the Jessup team.

Thurgood Marshall Mock Trial Competition

Tara Blotnick 2L, Carlos Armando Giron 2L, Stephanie Martin-Thom 2L and Alphonse Williams 3L competed in the Northeast Regional of the Thurgood Marshall Mock Trial Competition at the end of January.  The competition was held in Boston, Massachusetts in connection with the NEBLSA convention.

The Syracuse team advanced through the preliminary rounds and finished as quarterfinalists.  Our students were well-prepared thanks to the efforts of our new coaches Staci Dennis-Taylor L’14, Jarrett Woodfork, and John Boyd L’16.  Congratulations Thurgood Marshall Team!

National Basketball Negotiation Competition

Third-year students Joe Betar and Austin Hiffa won the National Basketball Negotiation Competition at Fordham University in New York City in March.  The team competed in six rounds, including three rounds of head-to-head negotiating against other teams, before being named this year’s champion team over 35 teams from schools around the country.

Hiffa and Betar took Chancellor Syverud’s Negotiation course and practiced fact patterns daily to prepare for the competition. Congratulations Austin and Joe!

The team was coached by Professor John Wolohan of Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics.

National Trial Competition

Christopher Clark 2L, Joe Gattuso 3L and Justin St. Louis 3L recently competed in the New York State regional round of the National Trial Competition.  The team traveled to New York City in the snowstorm on February 9th to make sure they’d be ready to compete the next evening.  The team advanced to the semi-final round, and judges recognized each student for their outstanding advocacy skills, listing them among the best competitors in the categories of best direct examination, best cross-examination, and best overall advocate.

The competition judges named Christopher Clark best overall advocate for the regional competition.  Christopher will be invited to attend the New York State Bar Association, Trial Lawyers Section meeting this summer to receive the prestigious Anthony J. DeMarco Jr. Award for Best Overall Advocate.  Congratulations Clark and National Trial Competition team!

Joanne VanDyke L’87 coached the National Trial Competition Team.