McGeorge School of Law

McGeorge teams shine bright in shortened competition season

March 23, 2020

Rigorous instruction, meticulous preparation and a student-centered faculty equipped University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law students to shine in a series of regional and national competitions testing their skills for client advocacy.

The proof of that success is on display among the plaques, trophies and other accolades that fill cases outside the law school’s courtroom.

“Preparing our law students to become outstanding advocates who ethically and skillfully represent clients in an array of legal matters and venues, whether in the courtroom, boardroom or beyond, is really a point of pride for us at McGeorge,” Interim Dean Michael T. Colatrella Jr. said of the law school’s recent No. 9 standing in U.S. News and World Report’s 2021 Best Graduate Schools Ranking. “That consistent quality and the recent top-10 ranking comes from the hard work of our students, the expertise of our faculty and the success of our mock trial and moot court teams.”

While the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has prematurely ended the competition season, McGeorge law students prove themselves practice-ready by consistently ranking high in those regional and national competitions. It started with the first moot court tournament of the academic year when students Blake Sequeira and Shirley Yang beat a team from Michigan State University’s law school in the final round of the Appellate Lawyers Association moot court tournament in Chicago held Nov. 1-2.

“Moot court competitions are an important test for our students and a great experience for aspiring lawyers,” Ed Telfeyan, director of McGeorge’s Moot Court Program, said at the time. “In these competitions, McGeorge students have to write appellate briefs and prepare oral arguments on complex, cutting-edge legal issues. The students engage in intense research in crafting their arguments and then spend countless hours perfecting their briefs and even  more hours in practice rounds for their oral arguments.”

In the National Moot Court regional competition held in early November at University of California, Hastings College of the Law, McGeorge students Kim Carrubba, Joshua Bailey and Flor Paz took the award for second best brief and reached the semifinals before losing the round to another McGeorge team made up of students Mike Adams, Ashley Gugino and Carly Moran. Adams, Gugino and Moran advanced to the finals, where they lost a close round to a team from Hastings. Their second-place standing meant they represented Pacific in the February finals in New York City, the seventh year in a row a McGeorge team had qualified for the finals.

Also in November, students Consuelo Amezcua and Shaelyn Stewart advanced to the semifinal rounds of the Chicago Bar Association Moot Court Competition tournament.

Two McGeorge teams earned spots in the most important mock trial competition in the nation, the National Trial Competition sponsored by the American College of Trial Lawyers and the Texas Young Lawyers Association held in Fort Worth, Texas. It is the oldest and most prestigious trial advocacy competition in the country and each year more than 140 law schools from around the country compete. Unfortunately, concerns over the coronavirus, or COVID-19, caused the Texas Young Lawyers Association on March 13 to cancel the 2020 National Trail Competition.

In early February, the team of McGeorge students Ian Cumings and Yahir Barragan placed third in the 2020 ABA Negotiation Competition National Finals, the second time in three years that a McGeorge team has been in the top three in the nation.

“To qualify for the national competition for the second time in three years, and to finish with such a high rank against the best teams in the country, is a tremendous source of pride for McGeorge, our team members and for me personally,” McGeorge adjunct professor Claudia Wrazel, who coaches the team, said at the time. “What I like best about our team, though, is how hard they work and how much fun they are to get to know. It’s a great pleasure to work with these fine students.”

In mid-February, McGeorge students Camille Reid and Juliana Combs won the regional American Bar Association competition in Client Interviewing and Counseling, advancing to the national competition that had been scheduled for this weekend at Quinnipiac University in North Haven, Connecticut. That university has also closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

McGeorge teams moved from February to March with two strong showings. The team of Dennis Eros and Shaelyn Stewart tied for first place with a team from California Western School of Law in the 13th annual UC Davis Asylum and Refugee Law National Moot Court Competition on Feb. 29 and March 1. Heather Domingo and Caitlin Franzen were quarterfinalists. And Dan Warren was named the top oralist in the ABA National Moot Court Competition regionals in San Francisco and a McGeorge team made up of Kim Carrubba and Consuelo Amezcua received the second best brief award.

To learn more about client advocacy, McGeorge’s Center for Advocacy and Dispute Resolution, McGeorge’s competition teams, and admissions requirements, visit McGeorge.edu.