Akron, Ohio, Nov. 29, 2007 – The University of Akron School of Law trial team returned from the National Civic Trial Competition at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles earlier this month as national champions. Student advocates Matthew Bruce of Huber Heights, John Conley of Canton, Ryan Melewski of Youngstown and Julie Grant of Steubenville beat the University of Houston Law Center in the semifinal round. They defeated Stetson University College of Law in the final round for the national championship. John Conley was named Best Advocate. The team was coached by trial team alumni Lawrence Sutter III ('89) and Adam Stacy ('04).
The National Civil Trial Competition, sponsored by law firm Greene Broillet & Wheeler, is an invitational tournament open to all American Bar Association-accredited law schools that have demonstrated excellence in mock trial competitions and/or demonstrated excellence in the training of law students in litigation skills. The UA School of Law was one of 16 teams invited to the competition. The tournament allows students to develop and display the skills of a successful civil litigator. Students were required to perform opening statements, direct and cross-examinations of expert and lay witnesses, and closing arguments, as well as argue objections based on the Federal Rules of Evidence.
The victory in Los Angeles caps off the best fall season in the trial team's history. The team began the season by sweeping the two top spots at the Landskroner Closing Argument Competition in Cleveland in early October. The team then placed second in the nation in the National Institute for Trial Advocacy's Tournament of Champions in Denver in late October. Earlier this month, the team placed third in the Buffalo-Niagara Invitational Mock Trial Tournament in Buffalo and won more trials than any other team in the Battle of Ohio Tournament in Cleveland.
“All our advocates and coaches worked very hard to make these victories a reality. Practices began in August and continued through the end of the final tournament in late November. The team's 24 student advocates and 12 volunteer alumni coaches spent an aggregate of several thousand hours of
intensive practice and competition time to represent the law school in these prestigious competitions. The law school and the entire university can be very proud of the honors they have brought home from Akron,” said William G. Rickett ('86), director of the trial competition teams.