“The University of Akron law school trial team once again took first and second place in the Landskroner Foundation for Children’s ninth annual law student closing argument competition earlier this month Getting off to a strong start this fall season, the UA trial team sent six students to the finals of the Closing Argument Competition in Cleveland.””
The University of Akron law school trial team once again took first and second place in the Landskroner Foundation for Children’s ninth annual law student closing argument competition earlier this month
Getting off to a strong start this fall season, the UA trial team sent six students to the finals of the Closing Argument Competition in Cleveland.
It’s part of the Landskroner law firm, they have a separate foundation that deals specifically deals with children’s issues, said Bill Rickett, the trial team director. Every year they sponsor a closing argument competition for all of the law schools in Ohio.
The law school has been chosen to attend the finals every year since the competitions introduction in 1999.
They invite the students from any of the law schools to send a 500-word essay on how trial advocacy skills benefit children, or how skills learned in law school can benefit as somebody becomes an attorney, Rickett said. From all of the submissions from all the different students across Ohio they choose the 12 best and invite those 12 people to come to Cleveland.
This year, students Matthew Bruce and Brian Dodez took home first and second place, respectively.
Every year that we have participated since this began in ’99, except for one year, Akron has always had the top two, Rickett said. The year we didn’t we took third place.
It’s a nice little warm-up for the season.
This year’s argument was based around a child who was blinded at the age of 3 by medical malpractice and the students were asked to deliver a closing argument on behalf of the child.
It was totally damages, the doctor this year admitted he messed up, said second-year law student Brian Dodez, who came in second place. The entire issue before the jury was ‘how much do we give this child who is now blind for the rest of his life?’
The trial team program, which Rickett said is ranked in the top 20 nationally, will take part in several more competitions this year.
Our focus is learning how to conduct a trial, Dodez said. You will give an opening argument, you question witnesses, you have to cross examine witnesses, you object.
It’s a real trial all the way through.
Not counting the Landskroner competition, which is not a full trial competition, the team takes part in four full tournaments this smester. One of the tournaments takes them to Los Angeles, Calif.
The National Civil Trial Competition held in Los Angeles, puts UA against some of the top schools in the nation.
We won that once back in ’03, Rickett said.
The National Civil Trial Competition, according to Rickett, only accepts the top 16 schools in the nation.
These are full trial competition where the students do roughly a three-hour trial, Rickett said. They do three preliminary rounds, they cut to a semifinal round and then a final round.
Most of these trials of the competition are five trials over two to three days, and usually we’ve been pretty successful in those.
Other competition the trail team will attend this fall include The Buffalo/ Niagara National Criminal Trial Association and the Case Invitational trial tournament which includes all the law schools in Ohio and Kentucky.
Most trials are in front of a panel of judges and trial attorneys with the same three-round, semi-final and final round structure as the National Civil Trial Competition.
Dodez said the trail program is a great way to learn from experience because of its authenticity.
In any college program your going to learn a lot of theory, but the trial gives you the opportunity to apply that theory in a realistic setting.
UA’s trial team has historically done well for its self at competition.
Akron’s program has been consistently ranked in the top 16 in the country over the last 18 years, Ricket said. I think there was only one year of those years where the rankings have been kept that we haven’t been ranked as one of the top 16.
“” #1.1361685:3581117797.png:20071016dudes.png:Law student Brian Dodez, left, placed second in competition Oct. 4.:PHOTO COURTESY LANDSKRONER FOUNDATION”