MSLAW Wins 3rd Place in the 2011 Thurgood Marshall Mock Trial Competition

[Published in Winter 2011]

The Trial Advocacy Team from the Massachusetts School of Law Wins Third Place in the 2011 Thurgood Marshall Mock Trial Competition and for the Fourth Time in Five Years Competes at the National Finals with the Other Regional Winners

Massachusetts School of Law’s Trial Advocacy Team demonstrated tremendous advocacy skills during the 2011 Thurgood Marshall Mock Trial Competition for the Northeast Region of the National Black Law Students Association. In winning third and fourth place in the competition, all four of MSLAW’s teams again advanced to the quarterfinals as they had in 2008 with 6 of the top 8 teams coming from only two schools – MSLAW and Harvard University Law School. The semifinals saw two very evenly matched MSLAW teams face Harvard to see who would advance to the finals. In two very close matches, Harvard prevailed over MSLAW.  Harvard University Law School won the Trial Competition and Columbia University Law School won the Moot Court Competition held at the regional convention in Connecticut. The Northeast region is comprised of the 33 law schools in New England, New York, and northern New Jersey.

MSLAW’s students displayed impressive command of the evidence, law, and facts while displaying great advocacy skills throughout the competition. MSLAW advanced four teams to the Elite 8 of the highly competitive Northeast Region. While teams are not allowed to disclose their team affiliation during the competition, among the teams that MSLAW beat were NYU, Seton Hall, St. Johns, and Harvard.

Two MSLAW teams went on to compete at the National Finals in Houston with the 15 other winners from the remaining five regions across the United States as Harvard, due to scheduling conflicts, sent only one team to the finals. In 2008, when MSLAW also advanced four teams to the quarterfinals and took the top four spots in the regional competition, it went on to compete in the National Finals of the Thurgood Marshall Mock Trial Competition in Detroit where MSLAW finished third in the country losing only to the national champion.

2011 Thurgood Marshall

MSLAW team members are James Ezeigwe, Jamal Johnson, Morjietta Derisier, Candace Robinson, Kellie Tiller, James Hester, Nick Carbone, Katisha Cunningham, James Sankan, Janet Raheb, Chantelle Hashem, Nisha Mungroo, Darryl Caffee, Allenston Sheridan, Tradia Vereen, and Felicia Robinson. Associate Dean Michael Coyne, Professor Dan Harayda, Attorney Darius Greene, and Assistant District Attorney Kimberly Gillespie serve as the coaches of MSLAW’s Trial Advocacy team.

This year MSLAW was not as fortunate and could not gather enough victories to advance to the National Quarterfinals despite great advocacy by all of the team members. This is the fourth time in five years that MSLAW teams advanced to the National Finals. In the last six years in the Thurgood Marshall Trial Advocacy Competition, MSLAW teams have finished in 3rd place four times, 2nd place twice, and 1st place once. MSLAW students have also won the best advocate award of the competition in 2007, 2008, and 2009. As she did in 2010, Harvard student Ieshaah Murphy won the best advocate award with a perfect score despite strong competition from MSLAW students Kellie Tiller, Nick Carbone, and James Sankan.

In praising the team’s performance, Dean Coyne said, “This team displayed great intelligence, command of the law and the rules of Evidence. Their professionalism was outstanding and was recognized by the judges as well as fellow competitors. There is no shame in losing to an equally talented team as that from Harvard. Our team members are truly among the very best law students in the United States. It was a pleasure to see the team demonstrate their significant knowledge and command of the law. They will be great lawyers who will serve their communities well.”

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