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AAJ 2011 National Competition

Duquesne University School Of Law Defeats More Than 225 Trial Teams To Win National Trial Competition Championship

Duquesne University Law School has won the National Championship in the prestigious National Student Trial Advocacy Competition sponsored by the American Association for Justice (AAJ).  This award once again places Duquesne University Law School in the ranks of the best trial advocacy programs in the country.  This “best of the best” competition was held in Las Vegas, Nevada from March 31st through April 3rd.  In a field of more than 225 teams, the Duquesne trial team was the only team to remain undefeated.

 

"We are extremely proud of the incredible performance of our trial moot court teams,” said Ken Gormley, Dean of the School of Law. “The AAJ is considered one of the most competitive and prestigious competitions in the United States. For a small Law School like Duquesne to prevail over 225 teams nationwide is a testament to the dedication of our student advocates and coaches, who worked tirelessly to compete at the highest level. Duquesne has now solidified its position as one of the most talented, respected trial moot court programs in the country.

 

“Combined with our legal research and writing program, which was recently named among the top ten in the country by U.S. News and world report, the first place honors in the prestigious AAJ competition has shone a national spotlight on Duquesne as it celebrates its hundredth anniversary. We could not be more proud of our students and faculty members who continue to aspire toward, and achieve, the very highest standards of excellence."

Duquesne’s road to the championship came through its assigned region in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where it competed with 14 teams from law schools in Ohio, Michigan and Pennsylvania.  The trial team defeated, in head-to-head competition, Case Western Reserve, Capital University, University of Pittsburgh, and both teams from the University of Akron.  By winning the regional competition, the Duquesne trial team made it to the “Sweet 14” and competed with the nation’s finest advocates from University of Tennessee, Suffolk University, South Texas College of Law, Loyola University, Chicago, University of Iowa, Stetson University, Samford University, Rutgers University, Pepperdine University, University of California, Berkeley, University of Colorado, University of Maryland and Campbell University.  After 3 rounds of competition, Duquesne was the only undefeated team and went on to win both the semi-final and final rounds of the competition.

The Championship team consisted of Duquesne law students Clancy Boylan (Kingston, PA), Sarah Bronder (Plum Boro, PA), Katie Chengery (Pittsburgh, PA) and Brendan McKenna (Clarks Green, PA).  This trial team defeated, in head to head competitions, University of Maryland, Pepperdine University, Campbell University, University of California, Berkeley and University of Iowa.  The team was coached by Professors Michael Streib, Amelia Michele Joiner and Michael Gianantonio, with special assistance from alumni Jack Wall, Michael Calder, Lisa Goodman, Jon Perry and Eddie Ciarimboli.

AAJ is the world’s largest association of trial advocates with more than 60,000 members worldwide.  Its goals are to promote justice and fairness, to safeguard victim’s rights, and to strengthen the civil justice system through education and advocacy.  AAJ national mock trial competition is open to law schools nationwide, and each year, the competition draws entries from more than 900 law students, representing approximately 230 teams from over 130 law schools.  The competition cases are always civil in nature, and the law students are judged on their advocacy skills and case presentation abilities.

Duquesne’s Trial Advocacy Program has been functioning in its current form for more than a decade.  Led by law professors Michael Streib and Amelia Michele Joiner, the teams are comprised of groups of second and third-year law students.  Competition among students to make the teams is intense, and those selected take on an enormous commitment, often lasting the remainder of their law school career.