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USF Advocacy Teams Earn Top Placements

March 29, 2010

USF Advanced Advocacy Competitions Program teams have earned top placements in moot court competitions this academic year.

USF earned second place in the Pacific round of the renowned Jessup International Law Competition in Portland, Ore. Robin Bennett 3L, Jessica Morreale 3L, Gina Azizad 2L, Allen Kuo 2L, and Michael Schowalter 2L also won Best Memorial. Morreale placed eighth and Kuo ninth in the best oral advocate rankings, and Bennett was among the top 25 oral advocates.

The win earned the USF team a spot in the international finals for the first time in school history. Approximately 140 schools from across the country competed for the opportunity to be one of the 12 teams representing the United States in the international finals that took place in Washington D.C. last week. More than 80 countries participated, including teams from Iraq and Afghanistan.

"The teams from Afghanistan, who survived a bombing to get here, were greeted with signs of support, tears, and a standing ovation," Morreale said. "I think what this competition is really about is seeing the world outside of school, instead of through the lens of a textbook...This (experience) has taught me that judicial decisions are not just words on paper, but choices that affect real people, whether in California, the U.S., or around the world."

At the Jessup international finals, the USF team won 15th best brief and Bennett placed as the 10th best oralist. Thousands of people worldwide competed for the chance to join the finals, and Bennett faced more than 500 competitors in the finals.

In the American Bar Association Labor and Employment Trial Skills Competition, Nichelle Holmes 4L, Vanessa Wills 3L, Neda Soleimanian 3L, and Kristen Richards 3L placed second in the San Francisco region. Carlo Miranda 3L and Christine Start 3L won Best Brief in the regional Thomas Tang Moot Court Competition.

For the first time in USF history, the National Moot Court Competition team advanced to the national finals. The team, comprised of J. Neil Stuart 3L, Lisa Hamer 2L, and Russell Ozawa 3L, placed third in the regional competition and earned second best brief. Andrew Haling 3L earned fourth best oral advocate in the preliminary regional competition.

Kristin Coleman 2L, Sarah Adelaars 2L, and Travis Manfredi 2L placed second in the regional Saul Lefkowitz Moot Court Competition, which focuses on trademark and unfair competition law.

"Competing...during my second year not only improved my brief writing skills but gave me a very valuable opportunity to learn from the great oral advocacy skills of other students and alumni," said Alex Wong 3L, student coordinator for the USF Advanced Advocacy Competitions Program. "Offering support to our many team members as well as ensuring that they are well prepared for their competitions has strengthened my belief in the quality of the legal education we are receiving at USF."