March 21, 2017
UC Hastings College of Law took top honors at the prestigious invite-only National Ethics Trial Competition (NETC) hosted by McGeorge School of Law.
The NETC was established in 2006 to promote ethical and civility awareness through the mock trial competition format, and this year marked the 11th event. This year's event was held March 16 to 18, 2017 at the Robert T. Matsui U.S. Courthouse in Sacramento. Sixteen of the top trial advocacy schools from around the nation sent teams to compete in the NETC. A group of 115 local judges and attorneys served as presiding and scoring judges.
Professor Jay Leach, director of McGeorge's Trial & Appellate Advocacy JD Concentration Program, organized the NETC and co-authored the case file. Professor Cary Bricker, director of McGeorge's Mock Trial Program and co-director of the Center for Advocacy & Dispute Resolution, co-authored the case file.
Hastings students Pablo Wudka-Robles, Emily Stover, Maryam Ahmad, and Luz Robles comprised the winning team, which edged out Denver in the final round. Mercer and Buffalo also reached the semifinals. Pablo Wudka-Robles, Hastings, and Aliyah Baaith, Mercer, won the awards for Top Advocate Preliminary Rounds. Hastings' Emily Stover won the Top Advocate Final Rounds trophy, and Emory received the Most Professional Team Award.
The final round of the competition was judged by a prestigious panel that included Presiding Judge Patricia Lucas of Santa Clara Superior Court; 1974 alumnus and past Chief Judge of the Third District Court of Appeal Arthur Scotland; ABA Litigation Section Chair Laurence Pulgram of Fenwick & West; Steven Gurnee, Managing Partner of Gurnee Mason & Forestiere LLP.; and 2003 alumna Carrie Bonnington, Managing Partner of Pillsbury's Sacramento office.
A school that competed in the NETC for the first time gave the competition a positive review: "It is easy to say you liked the competition and judges when you win. But it's another thing altogether when you do not. We had a tough draw and tournament. But we loved and respect this competition very much. The judges were outstanding. The tournament was smooth as silk. The quality of work product and judges was above and beyond. So while we didn't advance we completely are humbled to say we are grateful and honored to have been a part of such a great learning experience."
The field also included: American, Berkeley, Chicago-Kent, Drexel, Fordham, Golden Gate, Loyola, Maryland, Missouri, Stetson and South Texas.
McGeorge School of Law is rated the 10th best law school in the country when it comes to trial advocacy, according to U.S. News & World Report's Best Graduate Schools for 2018 released on March 14, 2017. Success in the trial advocacy ranking is attributed to McGeorge's award-winning mock trial, moot court, and alternative dispute resolution programs, directed by the Center for Advocacy and Dispute Resolution. These programs provide opportunities for students to hone their skills in the trial courtroom, appellate advocacy, client counseling, negotiation, and arbitration. McGeorge students are able to test their abilities in competitions around the world.
"Our law students receive recruitment and networking opportunities, the main source of jobs for law graduates," said University of the Pacific President Pamela A. Eibeck. "They leave McGeorge prepared to work in many legal areas, often working side-by-side with McGeorge alumni."
Robert Buccola,'83, Dreyer Babich Buccola Wood Campora LLP, was the founding sponsor of the NETC. Other sponsors included: American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA), Brandon Takahashi, '06, ADLI Law Group; Joseph C. George, '85 & Joseph C. George Jr., '98, Law Offices of Joseph C. George, Ph.D.; Cota Cole & Huber LLP; Evans, Wieckowski, Ward & Scoffield, LLP; Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman; Noel Ferris, '79, Law Office of Noel Ferris; Steve Block, '78 & Teri Block, '98; and R. Parker White, '80, Poswall White & Brelsford. The ABA Section of Litigation and the Anthony M. Kennedy American Inn of Court were co-sponsors.