Trial Advocacy Accolade


Akron, Ohio, March 16, 2006 — University of Akron law students scored another victory in mock trial competitions with a first-place finish in the recent ATLA (Association of Trial Lawyers of America) Student Trial Advocacy Regional Competition. The win advances the team to the national competition to be held March 30-April 2 in Miami.

Team members are third-year day students Roland DeMonte of Dennison; Eric Faulkner of Clermont, Fla.; Aaron Howell of Canton; and second-year day student Jennifer Guinto of Independence.
After receiving unanimous votes for their preliminary and semifinal rounds, the students advanced to the final round where again they were awarded a unanimous decision for their victory over Northern Kentucky’s Salmon P. Chase College of Law.
UA trial team veterans Lawrence Sutter III (’89), a partner at the law firm of Sutter, O’Connell & Farchione Co., Cleveland; and David Toepfer (’97), an assistant prosecuting attorney in Trumbull County, coach the teams. UA School of Law alumnus Kimberlee Kmetz (’94), of the Youngstown firm of Harshman & Bernard, was the regional tournament director.

A second UA team also competed in the competition. Team members included third-year day student Rob Good of Youngstown; and second-year day students Andy Cipriani of Smithers, W.Va.; Jason Wolfrey of Richmond, Va., and Caryn Peterson of New London, Minn.
Mock trial competition provides opportunities for law students to develop and practice their trial advocacy skills before members of the bar and bench. Teams consist of law students taking on the roles of attorneys and witnesses in a criminal or civil legal.
ATLA’s Student Trial Advocacy Competition cases are always civil cases and tend to deal with products liability, personal injury or medical malpractice/negligence issues. Teams are judged on their skills in case preparation, opening statements, use of facts, the examination of lay and expert witnesses and closing arguments.

Since 1982, UA mock trial teams have won two national championships and have been runner-up seven times. During that same period, the law school dominated the Sixth Circuit regional competitions with 45 championships.
In their latest rankings, “National Jurist” and “Prelaw Insider” magazines rated UA’s School of Law as the second “best value” Juris Doctorate public school program in the United States, based on tuition, bar passage rates, employment rates, median grants, clinic slots and faculty-student ratio.

The University of Akron is the public research university for Northern Ohio. It is the only public university in Ohio with a science and engineering program ranked in the top five nationally by U.S. News & World Report. Serving approximately 23,000 students, the university offers more than 350 associate, bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral and law degree programs and 100 certificate programs at sites in Summit, Wayne, Medina and Holmes counties. For more information, visit