South Texas College of Law Houston Wins 124th and 125th National Advocacy Titles in Single Weekend
In the arena of law school advocacy championships, South Texas College of Law Houston stands alone in the United States, as evidenced by its 124th and 125th national advocacy titles earned – in both mock trial and moot court – last weekend alone.
No other law school in the country can claim half as many wins.
“I couldn’t be more proud of our exceptional advocacy teams and the staff, faculty, and alumni coaches who help prepare them,” said Donald J. Guter, South Texas College of Law Houston president and dean. “There are many schools that go years without a single win, and just look at the number and variety of advocacy competition wins – both team and individual – South Texas earned in a single weekend. Congratulations to all for a job well done.”
Mock trial competitions simulate actual trial proceedings, in which law students form teams, portray both attorneys and witnesses, perform direct and cross examinations, and present opening and closing arguments. In moot court competitions, which simulate appellate court proceedings, students working in teams answer questions directly from a panel of judges only.
Over the weekend, South Texas students claimed their 124th advocacy championship at the Law & Science National Mock Trial Competition, hosted by the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University in Phoenix, Ariz.
The STCL Houston team – composed of Morgan Bird, Sarah Cutropia, Delaram Falsafi, Daniel Mears, and Shawn Williamson – defeated students from the University of Colorado School of Law in the final round. The team also received several individual speaking awards. Falsafi took home the Overall Best Advocate Award, Cutropia won the Best Opening Statement Award, and Bird earned the Best Direct Examination Award. Former national champion South Texas advocates Craig Priesmeyer and Chris Rothfelder coached this winning team.
In their second tournament of the weekend, South Texas students took the top spot at the National Constitutional Law Moot Court Competition at the William & Mary Law School in Williamsburg, Va. STCL Houston students Stephanie Bryant, Niloufar Hafizi, and Randall Towns earned the law school’s 125th national advocacy win in addition to the Best Brief Award. Former champion South Texas advocates Courtney Carlson and Jessica Sykora coached this winning team.
In a third separate tournament over the weekend, South Texas students Nathalie Kalombo, Helen Le, and Kody Lyons earned third place at the William E. McGee National Civil Rights Moot Court Competition, hosted by the Mitchell Hamline School of Law in St. Paul, Minn. These students argued a problem regarding trademarks, the Lanham Act, and the First Amendment, based on a case currently before the U.S. Supreme Court. Lyons received the Best Overall Oralist Award at the tournament. Former winning STCL Houston advocates Katrisha Shirley and Erren Chen coached these successful students.
South Texas students also receive invaluable hands-on coaching and critiquing by Rob Galloway, associate director of the Advocacy Program, and their law professors prior to key national championships. Professors T. Gerald Treece, Phillip Page, Randall Kelso, and others played key roles in equipping STCL Houston students for last weekend’s advocacy tournaments.
“I’m very proud of our student advocates whenever and wherever they compete,” said Treece, STCL Houston Advocacy Program director and associate dean. “Our dedicated advocates put their blood, sweat, and tears into preparing for these championships and they deserve all the recognition they receive. Most importantly, by putting in the time and energy to prepare for tournaments, these students develop an outstanding set of persuasive legal skills that will set them apart in a courtroom following graduation.”