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Akron Trial Team wins National Championship

April 16, 2014

The University of Akron School of Law Mock Trial Team is National Champion once again! In the recent four-day American Association for Justice’s Student Trial Advocacy Competition in Santa Monica, CA, the Akron Law team of advocates Joseph Darwal and Justin Workman, along with their witnesses Elizabeth Emanuel and C. Adam Carro, competed against the top trial programs in the United States. When all was said and done, Akron Law was crowned national champions for the fourth time in eleven years.

The Akron Law team’s climb to the top began in March when they participated in a hard fought regional competition that narrowed the field from 224 teams down to the top 14. During that regional competition, Akron Law bested a field of teams from Case Western Reserve Law School, Michigan State, Cleveland State, Thomas Cooley, University of Cincinnati, Capital University, and the University of Toledo. That win entitled Akron Law to compete in the national competition.

Over the first two days of the national competition in Santa Monica, the Akron Law team lost its first two trials to the eventual #1 and #3 seeded teams, New York University and Duquesne University, in 2-1 decisions that were decided by the narrowest of margins. The disappointing early results meant that, in order to make the cut to the final eight, the Akron Law team would need to sweep all three judges in its round against South Texas College of Law, nationally recognized as one of the top five trial advocacy program in the country. And, that is exactly what they did.

From that point on, the Akron Law team could not be stopped. Joseph Darwal and Justin Workman consistently won the jury over during opening statement, witness examination and closing argument, while witnesses Elizabeth Emanuel and C. Adam Carro laid out Akron’s case on direct examination and confounded opposing counsel on cross. Regardless of which side of the case Akron presented – plaintiff or defense - the results were the same. Together, the team swept through the quarterfinal and semi-final rounds against the Charlotte School of Law and Stetson University setting up a championship round against Syracuse University. In the end, Akron Law won over every member of the championship round jury panel, consisting of Los Angeles’ most prominent trial attorneys, in a 3-0 decision that capped off an unprecedented comeback from the preliminary rounds.

The victory was the well earned by all four members of the competition team. The team was coached by Akron Law graduates Larry Sutter (’89) and Kevin Kita (’11) with the law firm of Sutter O’Connell, and Tony Wise (’13), with the Stark County Public Defender’s Office.

School of Law Faculty's Recent Scholarly Achievements

Betsy Shaver accepted an offer to publish her article, Can the States Ban the Use of Non-Positive Interventions? Re-Examining Positive Behavior Supports under IDEA, in the Steton Law Review.

Kristen Barnes’ proposal, Race Conscious Admissions in Higher Education in the European Union and the United States, was accepted for a paper presentation at the AALS Mid-Year Workshop on Transnational Perspectives on Equality Law, to be held in Washington, D.C. on June 22-24, 2014.

Sarah Morath accepted an offer to publish her article, The Farmer In Chief: Obama’s Local Food Legacy, in the Oregon Law Review.

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Professor Jack Sahl to speak at the Combating Threats to the International Financial System: The Financial Action Task Force symposium

Combating Threats to the International Financial System:
The Financial Action Task Force

Friday, April, 25, 2014, 9:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.
The event will be followed by a wine and cheese reception

New York Law School Auditorium
185 West Broadway, New York, New York 10013

Register Today
Registration is available here for $60
($50 for ACTEC members and NYLS alumni;
No charge for Law School and College & University students with valid ID;
no charge for NYLS Faculty and Staff)
Registration includes 6 CLE credits (Transitional and Non-Transitional; 3.5 in Areas of Professional Practice and 2.5 in Ethics); continental breakfast, lunch, and reception

Professor Huhn to speak on WAKR about Ohio's same sex marriage ruling

Current news – Professor Will Huhn to speak on WAKR about the upcoming Ohio same sex marriage ruling that will be handed down on April 14 -- Read more here.

Akron Law Civil Litigation Clinic presents at the International Institute for Refugees from Burma and Bhutan

Yesterday, the Civil Litigation Clinic's students conducted a Landlord-Tenant presentation at the International Institute for Refugees from Burma and Bhutan, read more at Asian Services in Action's website.

Akron Law in the News

Obama IPhone Veto To Keep Essential-Patent Cases Out Of ITC

Professor Vacca was quoted in Law360's article "Obama IPhone Veto To Keep Essential-Patent Cases Out Of ITC" See what he has to say at

3 Takeaways From Strine's Morton's Ruling

Professor Padfield was quoted in Law360's article "3 Takeaways From Strine's Morton's Ruling." See what he has to say at

Akron Law addresses issue of merit-based scholarship renewals

A recent article in the national media suggested our law school engaged in questionable practices with respect to scholarship renewals. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Here are the facts: For years (since at least 2007) we have been fully transparent about the likelihood and difficulty of maintaining our merit scholarships in all our letters to students and on our website (see Widespread first-year scholarships plus relatively low tuition ($23,583 full-time tuition for 2013-14) serve our mission of keeping law school accessible and affordable. We have chosen to base continuing merit scholarships on strong performance in law school rather than on entering credentials. This strategy enables us to attract excellent students, keep law school affordable, and treat our continuing students more equitably. Our debt load upon graduation reflects this commitment: our students’ average debt is lower than 93% of all law schools and 84% of public law schools.

For the Media

Members of the media seeking faculty expertise or general information about Akron Law should contact:

Ms Laura Martinez Massie
Director of Media Relations
Ph: 330-972-6476

The University of Akron

Akron, OH 44325
Phone: 330-972-7111
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