Association of Trial Lawyers of America


Akron, Ohio, Nov. 14, 2005 —The University of Akron School of Law's mock trial team continues to be an imposing opponent in the annual National Invitational Tournament of Champions Trial Advocacy Competition with a 2005 second-place finish. This comes on the heels of a first-place award in 2003 and a second place in 2004.

As 2003 champion, UA earned the honor of hosting the 2005 tournament, which recently was held in Akron. UA alumnus Lawrence Sutter III ('89), a partner at the Cleveland law firm of Sutter, O'Connell, Mannion & Farchione Co., was tournament director.

Team members include third-year day students Elisabeth Batchelder Akers of Medina, Roland DeMonte of Dennison, and Eric Faulkner of Clermont, Fla.; and second-year day student Jennifer Guinto of Independence. The students were coached by UA School of Law alumni Chris Carino ('05) of the Akron firm of Brouse McDowell, Kimberlee Kmetz ('94) of the Youngstown firm of Betras Harshman, and Sean Leuthold ('95) of the Bucyrus firm of Leuthold and Leuthold.

UA's team swept through four preliminary trials defeating teams from George Washington University Law School, Baylor University School of Law, University of Houston Law Center and Loyola Law School, Los Angeles. After defeating South Texas College of Law in the semifinal round, the UA team lost to Temple University, James E. Beasley School of Law on a split decision.

The prestigious invitation-only Tournament of Champions Trial Competition is sponsored by the National Institute for Trial Advocacy (NITA). Each year the 16 law schools with the best records over the past three years in the Texas Young Lawyers Association National Trial Competition and the Association of Trial Lawyers of America Student Trial Advocacy Competition are invited to participate. The law school that wins the tournament becomes the host of the competition two years later.

Coach Sutter notes that the Tournament of Champions seeded Akron's trial advocacy program No. 2 in the nation based upon the school's performance over the past three years in the realm of competitive trial advocacy competitions.

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 has dominated the sixth circuit regional competitions with 44 championships.

In their latest rankings, “National Jurist” and “Prelaw Insider” magazines rated UA's School of Law as the second “best value” juris doctor public school program in the United States, based on tuition, bar passage rates, unemployment rate, median grants, clinic slots and faculty-student ratio.