March 16, 2009

AAJ trial competition finalists

Congratulations to the 28 teams that will compete for the top prize at the AAJ National Student Trial Advocacy Competition April 2-5 in West Palm Beach, Florida. The 28 teams constitute the winners and runners up of the 14 regional competitions held across the country February 27-March 1. I've listed the qualifiers below, sorted by regional city. The first team under each city was the champion; the second team listed is the runner up.

Albuquerque, N.M.:
University of New Mexico School of Law
Tulane University Law School

Atlanta:
Samford University Cumberland School of Law
Loyola University New Orleans College of Law

Boston:

Suffolk University Law School
Suffolk University Law School

Charlotte, NC:
Duke University School of Law
Charlotte School of Law

Chicago:
Loyola University Chicago School of Law
The John Marshall Law School (Chicago)

Cleveland:
University of Akron School of Law
University of Akron School of Law

Dallas:
Baylor University Law School
Baylor University Law School

Las Vegas:
Stanford Law School
Barry University Dwayne O. Andreas School of Law

New York:
New York University School of Law
Rutgers University School of Law

Pittsburgh:
Duquesne University School of Law
University of North Carolina School of Law

Providence, RI:
Stetson University College of Law
Quinnipiac University School of Law

Santa Monica, Cal.:

Loyola Law School Los Angeles
Golden Gate University School of Law

Seattle:
University of Colorado Law School
University of Denver Sturm College of Law

Washington, D.C.:
University of Maryland School of Law
University of Maryland School of Law

Incidentally, my teams returned from the Dallas regional with some horror stories. Aside from rounds running extremely late and courthouse personnel apparently having no idea they were even hosting a competition that weekend, most of the preliminary rounds only had one judge (the rules prescribe three-judges panels). In one round, a judge fell asleep and then apologized after she woke up, claiming she had been out late the night before. In another round, the judge admitted at the outset that she didn’t know the rules of evidence, and in addressing objections, she continually said that she didn’t know how to rule because she had no idea what the rules actually said. In critique, another judge told my team--in all seriousness--that he “had tried five cases and won two of them, so I’d listen up if I were you.”

For what is supposed to be one of “the big two” mock trial competitions, that’s a shame. Did anyone at other regionals have similar experiences?

2 comments:

Mocker said...

Thank you for posting this. After coaching both the NTC (TYLA) and AAJ regionals this year I was appalled by the Dallas AAJ regional. How can you ask students to use all of their precious spare time preparing for one of the (supposedly) top mock trial competitions only to find that you have one transactional attorney in each of your rounds.

Our NTC regional was held in New Orleans, a city struggling to rebuild after Katrina, and each round had four or five quality judges.

The AAJ regional was held in Dallas, Texas, the 9th largest city in the country and each round had one judge.

Congratulations to Baylor, but there is no way anyone can say that the best school is competing at Nationals. Next year we should just flip coins or play rock-paper-scissors.

Anonymous said...

Actually only the regional winner goes to nationals in AAJ. They changed it about 8 years ago. There are only 14 teams at nationals. You can see all the good teams left out. I wish they would go back to having two from each regional.

AAJ is often run poorly. I have never heard of a year where in at least one regional there were major problems. In Atlanta we often only had 2 judges and so we had a ghost ballot. Very frustrating.

Joe Lester
Advocacy Director
Faulkner University