McGeorge School of Law

Advocacy Teams Success Grows

June 16, 2009

2008-09 Mock Trial Competition Team

The 2008-09 McGeorge Mock Trial Competition Team.

McGeorge moot court and mock trial teams who have earned a national reputation for excellence in oral advocacy, enjoyed one of their most successful seasons ever during the 2008-09 academic year.

In March, Allysia Holland, ’09, and Preston Morgan, ’09, won the national title at the prestigious 18th Annual Saul Lefkowitz Moot Court Competition in Washington, D.C. Holland and Morgan also won the Best Oralist Team award and $5,000 in cash prizes for their team and their school. The title capped off a remarkable performance by the two students who scored a stunning upset over a strong West Regional field earlier in the spring to earn their trip to the four-team finals.

A McGeorge team qualified for the national finals of the most prestigious mock trial event in the country for the second year in a row and third time in the last four years.

Jeff Schaff, ’09, and Alan Donato, ’09, advanced to the Texas Young Lawyers National Trial Competition championship with a victory at the TYLA Northern California Regional in February in San Francisco. A second McGeorge entry was a regional finalist included Meredith Cammisa, '09, Robert Rice, '10, and Sally Noma, '09 .

McGeorge took second place against stiff competition and walked off with several team awards at the Niagara International Moot Court Competition in Toronto, Canada. Miranda Carroll, ’09, Devi Kumar, ’09, Sandeep Vishwa, ’09 and Yury Kolesnikov, ’09, finished as a runner-up to Case Western Reserve University. In addition to the semi-finalist award, the McGeorge team was cited for second-place in both the applicant’s memorial and the respondent’s memorial.

Second-year students Ada Tsai, David Wiksell, Chris Chin, and Lauren Layne took the Most Professional Team Award at the law school’s own 4 th Annual National Ethics Trial Competition. Chin captured Top Advocate honors in the preliminary rounds. Georgetown won the March event, which is sponsored by Dreyer, Babich, Buccola, & Callaham, LLP, the Anthony M. Kennedy Inn of Court, and the American Bar Association Section of Litigation. All rounds were hosted by the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of California and the finals featured a star-studded jurist jury led by Judge John Gerrard, ’81, of the Nebraska Supreme Court.

In April, James Houston, ’10, and Vanessa Whitnell, ’10, received two awards at the 2009 Roger J. Traynor California Appellate Moot Court Competition in San Francisco. The duo walked off with first place for Best Brief and scored a third-place finish in Excellence in Appellate Advocacy.

In October, Jill Himlan,’09, joined with Holland and Morgan to take a second-place Best Petitioner Brief award in the 11 th Annual Pepperdine University School of Law National Entertainment Law Moot Court Competition. In February, Sean DeBurgh, ’09, and Catherine Mattesich, ’10, took third place in the ABA Region 9 Client Counseling Competition in Seattle, Washington. A month later, Rysheda McClendon, ’09, and Micah Hauptman, ’09, finished among the top 16 teams in the McGee Civil Rights Moot Court. McClendon was named eighth best oralist at the event hosted by the University of Minnesota Law School.

In total, McGeorge competed in 11 moot court competitions and eight mock trial events during the academic year. The law school sent a four-person team to the Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot in Vienna, Austria, for the 15 th consecutive year. Other appellate events in which McGeorge competed include the ABA National Appellate Advocacy Competition, the University of San Diego National Criminal Procedure Tournament, the National Moot Court Competition, and the Philip C. Jessup International Law Competition. Other events in which the law school’s mock trial team was represented include the National Civil Trial Competition, the William W. Daniel National Invitational, California Attorneys for Criminal Justice tourney, San Diego Criminal Defense Attorneys event, Buffalo Niagara tournament, and the American Association for Justice (formerly ATLA) Trial Advocacy Competition.