McGeorge School of Law

Team Takes Top Honors In Traynor Competition

April 7, 2011

Traynor Awards

Traynor Awards: From left, Brandon Esraelian, Corrie Erickson and Brad Coutinho had their hands full at the Traynor awards ceremony.

For the third time in the last five years, McGeorge won a first-place award at the Roger J. Traynor California Appellate Moot Court competition, which was held April 2-3, 2011, at the University of San Francisco.

Brandon Esraelian, Corrie Erickson and Brad Coutinho took second place in both the Best Oral Argument rankings and the Best Brief ratings. Their combined scores for those two categories enabled McGeorge to walk off as the overall winner, taking home the Bernard E. Witkin Award for Excellence in Appellate Advocacy. In the individual honors arena, Erickson was named the third Best Oral Advocate in the competition.

Professor Jenny Darlington-Person, '00 and Nirav Desai, '04, a full-time U.S. District Court law clerk, co-coached the McGeorge team again this year. The Traynor field included teams from UC Berkeley, UCLA, UC Davis, UC Hastings, Santa Clara, Loyola, USF and eight other state schools.

"Each team argued two rounds on day one, and only the top two oral argument teams advanced to a final argument on day two," Desai said. "Our team made it to that final round and battled UC Hastings for the top oral advocacy trophy in front of a sitting California Supreme Court justice and two retired Court of Appeal justices. We came up just short to Hastings - the difference, as explained by Supreme Court Justice Carol Corrigan, was measured by a 'cat's whisker'."

The Roger J. Traynor California Appellate Moot Court Competition, which is named for a former chief justice of the state Supreme Court, was founded and run for nearly 30 years by the California Young Lawyers Association of the State Bar of California. The Witkin Legal Institute and Thomson/West Publishing are the current sponsors.

"It was another excellence performance by our students," said Professor Ed Telfeyan, '75, the director of the law school's moot court program. "In case you haven't noticed, our teams are putting together a pretty amazing year. As of now, with finals still to be held in two big tournaments to which our teams have advanced, we rank fifth in the nation under a widely recognized national moot court ranking system."