Law School Hosts Successful Region 7 National Trial Competition
This past weekend (February 18-20), the Law School hosted the Region 7 National Trial Competition at the Jefferson County Judicial Center. Fifteen law schools and thirty teams from Kentucky, Ohio, and Michigan participated. Seventy-one law school students competed. The following four law students represented the University of Louisville Brandeis School of Law: Paul Chumbley, Brandon Edwards, Courtney Phelps, and Aaron Price.
Thirty-seven Fellows of the American College of Trial Lawyers from Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Texas served as volunteer judges, including Rodney Acker, the chair of the ACTL's National Trial Competition Committee. The Commonwealth was represented with Fellows from Paducah, Bowling Green, Henderson, Owensboro, Somerset, Lexington, and Louisville. Judges from Kentucky state and federal courts also participated.
All four UofL law students competed in three preliminary rounds and presented both the prosecution and defense sides of a criminal case. Both teams received excellent feedback from the judges. After Rounds 1 and 2, team members Courtney Phelps and Aaron Price were the number one ranked trial team, having won both preliminary rounds and every judge’s ballot, and having the highest point differential. During Round 3, Courtney and Aaron were power matched against the second ranked trial team from the University of Akron School of Law. Courtney and Aaron defeated Akron 3-0 to advance to the semifinals. Of the eight trial teams that advanced, Courtney and Aaron were again ranked number one based on wins, ballots, and point differential.
In the semifinal round, Courtney and Aaron defeated Chase Law School and earned a spot in the finals. The competition was exceptionally close in the final round on Sunday afternoon. Courtney and Aaron competed against the University of Kentucky and lost by a narrow margin: 96 to 95; 91 to 90; and 94to 93. Every judge on the panel commented that as the runner-up team, Courtney and Aaron would have been worthy champions as well. Congratulations should be extended to Courtney and Aaron for their hard work and extraordinary trial advocacy.
Congratulations must also be extended to the 286 volunteers (law students, faculty, staff, court administrators, sheriffs, lawyers, and judges) who made this competition a great success. Many coaches and judges commented that the University of Louisville Brandeis School of Law hosted the best organized regional competition that they can remember. One of the Fellows wrote: “From the standpoint of the judges, there was not a single hitch in the proceedings. Everything happened as it was supposed to, when it wassupposed to. We didn't want for as much as a bottle of water. . . . You have set a new standard for efficiency and hospitality. Congratulations.”
The NTC Committee responsible for planning the competition was composed of the following students and administrators: Kimberly Ballard, Brian Bennett, Roz Cordini, Todd Garland, Phil Lawson, Marilyn Osborn, and Becky Wenning. Brian Bennett had the difficult task of securing volunteers to fill 204 witness positions over the course of the three-day tournament. Roz Cordini worked to secure donated items for competitors and judges (including engraved Louisville Slugger bats and Maker’s Mark bourbon bottles), and to manage volunteer greeters and floor attendants each day of the competition. Todd Garland was in charge of scoring, and tabulated scores for over 300 judge’s ballots during the course of the weekend. Phil Lawson served as the judge liaison and assisted the 72 attorneys and judges who volunteered during the competition weekend. Marilyn Osborn was responsible for securing volunteers for 51 bailiff positions and for overseeing law students on the NTC Committee. Becky Wenning coordinated all of the catering and logistics at the Judicial Center, planned the competitor’s reception at the Marriott Hotel, and was the primary liaison with the staff at the Judicial Center, including the Chief Court Administrator. Without their support, this competition would not have been a success.
In addition to the Committee’s support, thanks are extended to the following law students who volunteered their time to serve as witnesses and bailiffs, and to work behind the scenes: Bryan Abell, Jennifer Adams-Emerson, David Ames, Chris Arnold, Waleed Bahouth, Carly Baize, Ben Basil, Jeff Benedict, Matt Birkhoffer, Lani Burt, Daniel Cameron, Michael Cannon, Stephanie Carr, Candise Caylao, Nathan Chittick, Sarah Clay, Megan Cleveland, Jackie Clowers, Sam Constantine, Nicole Crump, Steven Crumbly, Steve Damron, Brittany Deskins, Joe Dunman, Aaron Dyke, Whitney Englert, Jen Ewa, Andrea Fagan, Cynthia Federico, Liam Felsen, Ryan Fenwick, Elisabeth Fitzpatrick, Tyler Fleck, Jacob Ford, Nathan Fort, Brad Hall, Denise Hall, Paige Hamby, Brittany Hampton, Josh Hartsell, Holly Hudelson, Jamie Jackson, Lu Jessee, Brad Johnson, Brandon Johnson, Eric Johnson, Elizabeth Johnson, Megan Keane, Cassie Kennedy, Clay Kennedy, Teresa Kenyon, Nick Laughlin, Pete Lay, Amelia Leonard, Jennie Lynch, Alice Lyon, Luke Markushewski, Courtney McGrew, Jennifer Monarch, Luschka Montijo, Iara Montoro, Ross Neuhauser, Blake Nolan, Victoria O’Grady, Patrick Owens, Sarah Potter, Kaitlyn Potzick, Amanda Prager, Marlow Riedling, Whitney Roth, Dorrie Rush, Jared Sawyer, Will Seidelman, Jen Siewertsen, Julie Simonson, Leah Smith, Thomas Stevens, Tommy Sturgeon, Terrance Sullivan, Barney Sutley, Andrew Swafford, Willis Taylor, Whitney True, Alex White, Jared Wilkie, Kyle Winham, Amanda Warford, and Kristie Wetterer.
Thanks are also extended to the following law faculty and staff for participating as witnesses: Tony Arnold, Linda Barris, Jessica Campbell, Debra Reh, Kathy Urbach, and Becky Wimberg.
Other local groups that were involved to serve as witnesses include students fromthe Youth Performing Arts School at Manual High School, Pre-Law Students at Bellarmine University, University of Louisville undergraduate students, and Brandeis School of Law admitted students.
Thank you to all who participated, and congratulations to Courtney Phelps, Paul Chumbley, Brandon Edwards and Aaron Price for representing the Law School so well in this competition.