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Law School Teams Win Two Trial Competitions

Northwestern University School of Law teams won two trial team competitions in recent weeks, including the championship at the Buffalo-Niagara Invitational Mock Trial Tournament, one of the largest competitions of this type in the country.

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December 5, 2006 | by Pat Vaughan Tremmel

CHICAGO --- Northwestern University School of Law teams won two trial team competitions in recent weeks, including the championship at the Buffalo-Niagara Invitational Mock Trial Tournament, one of the largest competitions of this type in the country.

The Northwestern team that competed in the Buffalo-Niagara mock trial compiled a perfect 6-to-0 record in the six rounds of competition and defeated Florida Coastal School of Law by a 4-to-3 vote in the championship round.

Each of the competing teams presented an entire trial, including an opening statement, direct and cross examinations and a closing argument for a fictitious case involving conspiracy and murder charges brought against an undercover FBI agent.

“I've been teaching trial advocacy for 10 years now and truly was impressed at how each of the four students' levels of performance rose as the competition went on,” said head coach Rick Levin, a partner of Levin Riback Law Group. “They performed as if they had been lawyers between five and 10 years.” 

More than 200 area lawyers and judges acted as jurists and evaluators during the six rounds of competition, and New York State Supreme Court Justice Kevin M. Dillon presided over the championship round.

Forty law schools, representing 18 states, sent more than 160 students to upstate New York to participate in the four-day competition, held in courtrooms in the Buffalo City Courthouse.

The Northwestern team that participated in the Buffalo-Niagara mock trial competition includes Gwendolyn Carroll (named outstanding advocate), Alexis Garmey, David Perry and Ian Williams (award recipient for best opening statement). Members of the trial team who did not participate in Buffalo include Alan Robinson and Jacob Smith.

Head coach Levin and Adam Riback, of the Levin Riback Law Group, worked with the team throughout the year to prepare for the competition.

Another Northwestern team took first place in an American Bar Association (ABA) trial advocacy competition that focuses on the challenges and rewards of employment and labor litigation. The ABA's Labor and Employment Law Section sponsored the competition.

Third-year law students A.J. Sharp, Brooke Lewis, Kathryn Perry and Ryan Ferch were undefeated in the competition's four rounds. Michael Leonard of Meckler Bulger & Tilson coached the team.