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Trial Advocacy Team wins national competition

November 6, 2009

L to R: Ryan Higgins, Karina Perez, Bill Sommers, Nia Weeks and Dante Butler.

The Loyola University New Orleans College of Law Trial Advocacy Team won first place at the Quinnipiac University Criminal Justice Trial Advocacy Competition held Oct. 30-Nov. 1, 2009, in New Haven, Conn.

By winning this competition, Loyola received an automatic invitation to the American Bar Association National Criminal Justice Trial Advocacy Competition in Chicago in March 2010.

Loyola’s team was made up of students Nia Weeks, Karina Perez, Ryan Higgins and Dante Butler, who also received an award for conducting the best cross examination during the preliminary trials. The team is advised by Blaine Lecesne, associate professor in the College of Law. Their coach is Bill Sommers, an adjunct faculty member who works with the program.

Loyola’s team participated in four trials which involved a multiple-count indictment for murder and included numerous evidentiary issues as well as constitutional law questions. Loyola won the final round against Fordham University School of Law. The Loyola team’s trials were judged by a variety of state and federal judges.

“I’m extremely proud of the trial advocacy students. They came out on top against a very competitive group of schools,” said Brian Bromberger, dean of the College of Law. “I am very anxious to see how their hard work and obvious skills will pay off in Chicago early next year.”

The competition was sponsored by Qunnipiac University School of Law and the Criminal Justice Section of the American Bar Association. Participating schools at this national competition included Georgetown University Law Center, The George Washington University School of Law, Creighton University School of Law, University of Denver Sturm College of Law, Georgia State College of Law and Quinnipiac University School of Law.

The Trial Advocacy Program, formerly the Board of Advocates/Association of Trial Lawyers of America, was organized in the fall of 1982. The purpose of the Trial Advocacy Program is to prepare students for a smooth transition from the study of law to actual practice. The objectives of this program are educational and practical.

The program focuses on learning by doing with practical instruction, demonstrations, feedback and critique. It teaches students the strategy of a trial and how to conduct themselves in a courtroom setting, how to speak persuasively, conduct direct and cross examinations, prepare and present persuasive opening and closing arguments, proper impeachment, tendering of experts and introduction of evidence.

For more information, contact Benjamin Lambert, Trial Advocacy president, at trialad@loyno.edu.

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