DU Law School in Elite Category With National Trial Competition Victory
A team of Duquesne University law school students has won the National Championship at the prestigious National Student Trial Advocacy Competition. Sponsored by the American Association for Justice (AAJ), the event is touted as a “best of the best” competition and places the School of Law in the ranks of the best trial advocacy programs in the country.
“We are extremely proud of the incredible performance of our trial moot court teams,” said Law Dean Ken Gormley. “The AAJ is considered one of the most prestigious and well-established competitions in the United States. This victory puts the School of Law and its respected trial moot court program in a very elite category.”
Among more than 225 teams, Duquesne was the only trial team to go undefeated throughout the competition, which was held in Las Vegas from March 31 through April 3. Members of the championship team are Clancy Boylan, Sarah Bronder, Katie Chengery and Brendan McKenna. They were coached by Duquesne Law Professors Michael Streib and Amelia Michele Joiner, and Adjunct Law Professor Michael Gianantonio, with assistance from law alumni Jack Wall, Michael Calder, Lisa Goodman, Jon Perry and Eddie Ciarimboli.
After winning the regional competition in Pittsburgh in March, the Duquesne trial team made it to the “Sweet 14,” where they competed with the nation’s finest advocates from the University of Tennessee, Suffolk University, Loyola University, Stetson University, Stamford University, Rutgers University and Pepperdine University, among others.
After three rounds of competition, Duquesne went on to win the semi-final and final rounds. They defeated teams from the University of Maryland, Pepperdine University, Campbell University, University of California, Berkeley and University of Iowa in head-to-head competitions.
“They are a wonderful group of students and richly deserve this honor,” said Streib. “They earned it.”
Each year, the AAJ’s National Student Trial Advocacy Competition draws entries from more than 900 law students representing more than 200 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.
The Trial Advocacy Program at Duquesne, which has functioned in its current form for more than a decade, is led by Streib and Joiner. The teams are comprised of groups of second- and third-year law students, and competition to make the teams is intense.
“Very early on, it was evident to me that this group of students was special. That their excellence has now been recognized on this level is sensational,” said Joiner. This team, three of whom are second-year law students and first-time competitors, are perfect representatives of Duquesne’s trial advocacy program and the Law School. We could not be more proud of them.”
The 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.