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Advocacy Honor Society Announces Award, Scholarship Winners at 2021 Virtual Banquet

Posted on Friday 4/16/2021
College of Law

The Travis H.D. Lewin Advocacy Honors Society (AHS) held its virtual banquet on April 15, 2021, presided over by Faculty Director Professor Todd Berger and AHS Executive Director 3L Joseph Tantillo.

Opening the banquet, Dean Craig M. Boise praised the advocates for posting "another banner year for the Advocacy Program."

"Given the challenges, the Program could have been forgiven if it had 'stepped back' this year and 'waited for the dust to settle,'" Boise said. "But you did quite the opposite—embracing virtual tournaments, adding and planning new hosted competitions, and boosting our national reputation to such an extent, we are now ranked #11 in the nation for Trial Advocacy by U.S. News and World Report."

In addition to jumping 16 places in two years in the U.S. News national rankings, the Advocacy Program is also #7 in the nation according to the 2020 Fordham rankings for trial competition, released in October 2020. 

Dean Boise noted some other highlights for 2020-2021, a year in which competitions were held online due to the coronavirus pandemic:

  • In February, Syracuse Law swept the National Trial Competition Region 2 tournament for the second year in a row, again sending two teams to the NTC national finals and lifting the Tiffany Cup for the third year in a row. 
  • Two other teams also won their regional rounds for the second year: the Black Law Students Association Trial Team and the National Moot Court Competition Team. The BLSA team then made it to the elite eight of their national tourney, the Constance Baker Motley Mock Trial Competition.
  • In October, the second Syracuse National Trial Competition became one of the first live-streamed tourneys in the nation, convening 22 top teams, managing nearly 50 trials, and gathering an 150 volunteer evaluators.
  • AHS then launched a new competition in March, the Transatlantic Negotiation Competition, in collaboration with Queen's University in Belfast, bringing together 60 students and judges (including alumni) from 23 countries. 
  • The program is now in the planning stages for a third Syracuse Law intercollegiate tournament, which will be a national moot court competition with a focus on disability law. 

Thanking alumni for their assistance through the year, coaching teams and judging competitions, Dean Boise announced the creation of the Travis H.D. Lewin Advocacy Honor Society Alumni Association, which will keep Program alumni in close touch and encourage further engagement after graduation.

Dean Boise finished his remarks by wishing 2021-2022 AHS Executive Director 2L Olivia Stevens best of luck and by welcoming the evening's special guests: Professor Emeritus Travis H.D. Lewin; Lee Michaels L'67; Emil Rossi L'72 (along with his daughters Rachel and Gemma L'01); and Everett Gillison L'85, Chief Administrative Officer, Defender Association of Philadelphia, and a 2020 Law Honors Awards recipient. 

The following awards and scholarship were bestowed at the banquet: 

  • Executive Director's Award: 3L Tyler Jefferies
  • Faculty Advocacy Director's Award: 3L Sharon Otasowie
  • Ralph E. Kharas Award: 3L Joseph F. Tantillo
  • Lee S. Michaels L'67 Advocate of the Year Award: 2L Marina De Rosa
  • Emil Rossi L'72 Scholarship Award: 2L Amanda Nardozza
  • Richard Risman Appellate Advocacy Award: 3L Joseph F. Tantillo
  • Models of Excellence in Advocacy Award (In Honor of Everett Gillison L'85): 2L Olivia Stevens and 2L Kelsey Gonzalez
  • International Academy of Trial Lawyers: 3L Joseph Celotto and 3L Christy O'Neil

The following 3L students were admitted to the Order of Barristers: Carly Cazer, Joseph Celotto, Lisa Cole, Ken Knight, Allison Kowalczyk, Christy O'Neil, Sharon Otasowie, and Joseph F. Tantillo