SU College of Law trial team places third in nation; student named Best Advocate
SU College of Law trial team places third in nation; student named Best AdvocateOctober 30, 2007Jaclyn D. Grossojgrosso@law.syr.edu
Cheering fans. Good sportsmanship. Incredible determination. It’s called the “Sweet Sixteen” of trial competitions, and Syracuse University College of Law continues to dominate most of the nation’s law schools. SU law students placed third in the 17th Annual Tournament of Champions criminal trial competition on Oct. 28, and third-year law student Olatokunbo Olaniyan was named Best Advocate. The event, sponsored by the National Institute for Trial Advocacy (NITA), was held in Louisville, Colo. The 16 best teams in the country are invited, based on each law school’s performance over a three-year period.
The Syracuse team was composed of four third-year law students: Stephanie Dellinger, Olatokunbo Olaniyan, Rafiel D. Warfield and Katherine Lawler. The Syracuse team defeated teams from Temple, Chicago-Kent, Arkansas and Houston.
“The Syracuse team received the respect of their fellow competitors and coaches, and great praise from tournament coordinators, judges and attorneys. The students are extremely talented, ethical and well prepared,” says Joanne Van Dyke L’87, an adjunct professor who has been coaching SU trial teams for nearly 12 years. “The college places great value in training and educating law students in trial advocacy. We are enormously proud of the team’s exceptional achievement in this competition.”
Van Dyke and fellow coaches Joseph Cote III L’87, Jennifer Richardson L’06 and Professor Emeritus Travis H.D. Lewin spend countless hours preparing the students for the competition. The second-year clerks on the team are James Flynn and Caitlin McGowan.
The fictitious criminal case for the competition, People v. Sanchez, depicts a gang member who killed someone in a gang-related fight. The defendant denies being a member of a gang and claims he stabbed the victim in self-defense. According to the defendant, he was an innocent bystander who was mistaken for a member of a gang.