Akron, Ohio, March 11, 2008 – University of Akron law students took top honors last weekend at the 2008 American Association for Justice Student Trial Advocacy Regional Competition (formerly the Association of Trial Lawyers of America). UA's teams won first and second place at the tournament. The regional champions were Ryan Melewski of Youngstown and Mallory Sander of Columbus, along with witnesses Bryan Smith of Stow and Beki Blackson of Warren. John Ramsey of Huron and John Conley of Akron with witnesses David Oeschger of Akron and Samantha Prokop of Medina, were regional runners-up.
Both teams were undefeated through three preliminary rounds and through their respective semi-final rounds. They faced each other in the final round on Sunday where the Melewski, Sander, Oeschger and Prokop team took top honors. The judges praised both teams and said the final decision following a lengthy deliberation was “difficult and close.” Akron's teams are coached by trial team veterans Lawrence Sutter ('89) and Adam Stacy ('05). The winning Akron team will next advance to the national finals to be held April 4 to 6 in West Palm Beach, Fla.
“We are extremely proud of the accomplishments of these two teams. They defeated all comers. In the end, the only team that could beat Akron was Akron. Even then, the judges scored the championship as a tie and one judge had to change his score to declare a winner,” says Lawrence Sutter, trial team coach.
The American Association for Justice National Student Trial Advocacy Competition is an annual nationwide mock trial competition. The mock trial 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 examinations of lay and expert witnesses and closing arguments.