McGeorge School of Law

McGeorge, SIU and GGU Challenge Makes an Early Start to Mock Trial Season

October 7, 2013

Group Image

From left-to-right: Jake Weaver, Gregory Hayes, Amanda Iler, Keith Hill, Danny Jensen, Blair Pickus, Dominic Ripoli, Sylvia Nguyen, Katya Salganick, Jory Zaloni, Erik Knuppel, Wes Porter, Anna Kashtanovia, Cary Bricker, Anisa Sirur, Jared Pursell, Chris Behan, Daniel Feldman, Paul Koontz, Parker White, Harrison Cohen, Randi Burggraff, Deanah McClendon and Matt Hess

The first annual McGeorge, Southern Illinois University (SIU) and Golden Gate (GGU) Challenge was held on the McGeorge School of Law, University of the Pacific campus in Sacramento, Calif. on Sept. 28, 2013. SIU received the first place award.

Professor Chris Behan from SIU conceived the new mock trial format. McGeorge Professor Cary Bricker, who teaches in the trial advocacy program, organized the event. The law student participants delved deeply into the trial's case with a mere three weeks of preparation time.

The Challenge consisted of four trials: two in the morning and two in the afternoon. Students argued pretrial motions, conducted 20 minutes of jury selection per side and then tried their cases to jury of 24 Sacramento citizens.

Four teams competed in the Challenge: one for each school plus a "hybrid" team:

  • The hybrid team was composed of Jared Pursell and Anisa Sirur from GGU, and Paul Koontz and Daniel Feldman from SIU.
  • The Southern Illinois University Team consisted of Paul Koontz, Randi Burggraff, Harrison Cohen, Matt Hess, Deanah McClendon, Daniel Feldman, with Chris Behan directing the group.
  • The McGeorge Team students were Jake Weaver, Greg Hayes, Amanda Iler, Danny Jensen, with Parker White as coach and Keith Hill assisting.
  • The Golden Gate University Team competitors were Sylvia Nguyen, Jory Zaloni, Dominic Ripoli, Anna Kashtanovia, Jared Pursell, Anisa Sirur, with Erik Knuppel as coach and help from Baxter Graduate Fellows Blair Pickus and Katya Salganick.

The presiding judges were retired Sacramento Superior Court Judge Joe Orr and former McGeorge Mock Trial coaches Bill Barry, Bill Brelsford and Meghan Baker.

The best advocate awards went to four students: Dan Jansen (McGeorge), Randi Burggraff (SIU), Anisa Surir (GGU on the hybrid team) and Jory Zalona (GGU).

Daniel Feldman (SIU) from the hybrid team received the best voir dire award. Jared Pursell was awarded for best direct examination. The cross examination award went to Jake Weaver (McGeorge). Anna Kashtanova was awarded for the best opening statement.

"It was a terrific experience and exciting for me, as a career trial lawyer, to see this much dedication and talent among students and coaches," said Bricker.