For the past 40 years, the Trial Lawyers Section of the New York State Bar Association has had the privilege of hosting the New York Regional Round of the National Trial Competition, the country’s oldest and most prestigious mock trial competition for law students. The mission of the NTC is to “encourage and strengthen students' advocacy skills through quality competition and valuable interaction with members of the bench and bar. The program is designed to expose law students to the nature of trial practice and to serve as a supplement to their education.”
This year’s competition was held in the courtrooms of the Queens County Supreme Court from January 29-31, 2016. Twenty teams from ten different New York law schools entered to compete: Brooklyn Law, SUNY Buffalo Law, Cornell Law, Cardozo Law, Fordham Law, Hofstra Law, NYU Law, Pace Law, St. Johns Law and Syracuse Law all entered teams. St. Johns Law, the defending 2015 Regional Champion, served as the host school. More than 100 members of the Bench and Bar volunteered their time to serve as Judges and Evaluators during the competition.
The NTC requires teams of law students to try an entire case before a presiding judge and a panel of lawyers. The students must argue motions in limine, make an opening statement, offer evidence in support of their case, perform direct and cross examination of witnesses, and present a closing argument.
The students are scored by the lawyers in each of the various disciplines during the trial based on the trial advocacy skills they demonstrate. After three rounds of trials, eight teams advanced to the Semi-Final Round held on Sunday morning: Brooklyn Law School Teams A and B, Hofstra Law Teams K and L and teams from St. Johns, Syracuse, NYU and Fordham Law faced off in the Semi-Finals, with Hofstra K, Hofstra L, Syracuse and NYU advancing to the Finals on Sunday afternoon.
In the Finals, Hofstra Team K defeated NYU Law and Syracuse defeated Hofstra Team L. Hofstra and Syracuse were crowned Co-Champions. They represented New York and the State Bar Association in the National Finals held in Dallas, Texas in late March 2016.
The members of the Co-Champion Teams were:
Syracuse University School of Law:
Hofstra School of Law:
The Trial Lawyers Section also presents several individual awards during the competition, based on the scores each student receives during the trials in which they compete. These awards were presented to the law students during a reception held at St. Johns Law School on Saturday night January 30. The following students were recognized:
Best Opening Statement:
1. Rahul Hari, NYU Law
2. Samantha Oakes: Brooklyn Law
3. Helene Weiss, Hofstra Law
Best Direct Examination:
1. Evan Jaffe, St. Johns Law
2. Carly Halpin, Syracuse Law
3. Samantha Oakes, Brooklyn Law
1. Justin St. Louis, Syracuse Law
2. Andrew Mark, Buffalo Law
3. Wyatt Smith, Cornell Law
Brianne Richards, Hofstra Law
Best Closing Argument:
1. Lauren Reilly, Hofstra Law
2. Phil Schultze, Brooklyn Law
3. Austin Minogue, Brooklyn Law
Dan Rosenbaum, Fordham Law
Justin St. Louis, Syracuse Law
The Best Advocate Through the Preliminary Rounds Award was presented to Justin St. Louis from Syracuse Law
The Trial Lawyers Section also presents two special awards in honor of individuals who have been instrumental in the organization and administration of the Trial Competition over the years: the late Tony DeMarco; and Prof. Travis Lewin from Syracuse Law School. Both Tony and Prof. Lewin dedicated years of service to the NTC because they believed that the competition afforded young lawyers and law students an invaluable opportunity to learn the skills needed to be a trial lawyer.
The 2016 winner of the Anthony J. DeMarco Best Advocate Award was Lauren Reilly from Hofstra Law School. Lauren had the highest overall score of all students in all disciplines during the competition. She is a member of the Co-Champion team from Hofstra and will compete in the NTC National Finals in Dallas later this year. This is the fourth time in the past five years that a female competitor has won the DeMarco Award as the Best Advocate in the competition.
The 2016 winners of the Travis H.D. Lewin Best Coaches Award are the coaches from Hofstra Law School, Jared Rosenblatt, Gerard McCloskey and Courtney Charles. Jared and Courtney practice with the Queens County District Attorney’s Office and Gerard also worked at the Queens D.A before recently going into private practice on Long Island. Both of the Hofstra teams they coached advanced to the Semi-Finals and one of the Hofstra teams was named Co-Champion for 2016.
The Trial Lawyers Section applauds all of the schools and laws students who competed in the NTC this year.
Congratulations to all of the law students who participated in the 2016 competition.