I am very pleased to report that our law school — as a first-time entrant — has won the ABA National Criminal Justice Trial Advocacy Competition in Chicago, one of the nation’s most prestigious invitation-only Trial Team tournaments. Twenty-two teams from across the United States (including one from India) participated. After going undefeated in three preliminary rounds, Barry defeated Tulane in the semi-final round and a very tough St. John’s team in the final round.
In addition to this Trial Team championship, which is Barry’s second overall and first against national competition, this is Barry’s SIXTH Final Four Trial Team this year — by far an all-time school record, and an unbelievable achievement.
Barry’s team consisted of Denise Kim and Roy Wolgamuth (advocates), and David Baker and Carla Matinata (witnesses). A big part of this team’s success was their being pushed by an excellent “shadow” team over the past seven weeks, consisting of Theresa Daniels, Thena Edwards, Marcus Hyatt and Sean Smallwood (all 1L’s). The team was coached by Prof. Mark Summers, who provided invaluable assistance in this criminal conspiracy case in addition to excellent coaching overall, and me. All worked extraordinarily hard, including having devoted their spring breaks in pursuit of this tremendous achievement.
I am pleased to also report that Denise Kim, a 2L competing against many 3L’s, won the Best Advocate award for the competition. She was acknowledged by Albert Krieger, one of America’s most well-known criminal defense lawyers, as having given one of the best opening statements he had ever seen.
The ABA coordinator has informed us that our showing has earned us an invitation to return to Chicago next year, which we have already accepted with great pleasure.
Additionally, an invitation was extended here by the coordinator of the Puerto Rico Trial Team Competition coordinator to compete this coming October, and that has been accepted with equal pleasure. Trial Team expects to also compete next year in Miami, Las Vegas and approximately four additional in-state and out of state locations.
One interesting note — perhaps because we were first-time competitors, or perhaps because we are a relatively new law school, some of the schools’ competitors were heard prior to the first round to ask differing versions of “Who is Barry?” and “Where are they from?” By the awards ceremony those questions were no longer being asked, and our team and Denise received heartfelt and most sportsmanlike rounds of applause. Our secret is now out. Our Trial Team has joined the elite of Trial Teams nationwide.
Please congratulate all these students when you see them, competition and shadow team alike. They have done a tremendous service to all of us, and raised our profile, nationwide, in a most significant way.
Prof. Mitch Frank
Trial Team Coach and Faculty Advisor