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Law School News

STCL Houston Students Win Two National Advocacy Championships, Increase School’s Total to 138

South Texas College of Law Houston (STCL Houston) students won two national advocacy championships last weekend, increasing the total national victories to 138 – twice as many as any other law school in the country.

With these wins, STCL Houston extends its long-time dominance in legal advocacy. Recently, STCL Houston’s advocacy program – known for its practice-ready, experiential learning opportunities – was ranked No. 3 in the nation in the 2023 U.S. News & World Report’s Best Graduate Schools guide.

The victories last weekend came in both mock trial and moot court competitions.

The South Texas team comprised of Govindi Munasinghe, Brigette Dechant, James Le, David Bradle and Nancy Wade claimed the advocacy program’s 137th national championship at the University of South Carolina’s Trials and Tribulations Mock Trial Competition. Munasinghe also won the following awards: Best Advocate in Preliminary Rounds and Best Advocate in Final Round. Dechant won the award for Outstanding Advocate in Preliminary Rounds. The team was coached by Spencer Speed ’17 and Ethan Szumanski ’21.

The moot court team including Zach Carrion, Jacquelyn Gomez and Paty Elizondo claimed South Texas’s 138th

advocacy championship at the National Latino Law Student Association National Moot Court Competition in New York. Elizondo also won the award for Best Advocate at the competition. The team was coached by Michael Rodriguez ’19 and Juanita Deaver ’21.

The advocacy program at STCL Houston has created a championship tradition over time, winning the ABA National Appellate Advocacy Championship 15 times, more than any other law school. Last year the law school placed 6th on the American Bar Association (ABA) Law Student Division’s 2021 Competition Champions list.

The Advocacy Program concluded its 11th Annual South Texas Mock Trial Challenge in March, an in-person mock trial competition where teams from 42 law schools from around the nation participated. In addition, STCL Houston students and professors helped prepare alumnus Rick Morris ’91 to argue before the U.S. Supreme Court on Nov. 2, 2022 – efforts that led to the Supreme Court ruling 9-0 for Morris’ client.