March 9, 2023
2023 Nathan Baker Trial Competition
L-R: Matthew Raber '24 and Sean Muirhead '24, Judge Zahid Quraishi '00, Gerald Baker, Anika Nelson '24 and Erin Hamilton.'24

Rutgers Law second-year students Sean Muirhead and Matthew Raber won first place in the 2023 Nathan Baker Trial Competition last night. Sean and Matthew faced off against third-year student Erin Hamilton and second-year student Anika Nelson in the competition's final round before the Honorable Zahid Quraishi, United States District Judge (RLAW ’00).  The two teams presented a full trial of a criminal murder case, with Hamilton and Nelson representing the State and Muirhead and Raber representing the defense.

A long running tradition in Newark, the Nathan Baker Trial Competition is Rutgers Law’s annual intramural mock trial competition named in honor of Nathan Baker, a prominent New Jersey attorney who practiced in Hoboken. Gerald Baker, a prominent personal injury attorney in New Jersey and benefactor of the competition and the trial advocacy program at the Law School, served as a scoring judge.

During the three-week competition, each team participated in two preliminary rounds, trying the case from both sides in successive rounds. The top four teams advanced to the semi-final rounds. Semi-finalists included Wilbert Davis and Jalen Williams, and David Mikhail and Joseph Bavolar. New Jersey Superior Court Judges Christopher Romanyshyn and Marysol Rosero presided over the semi-final rounds. Alumni of the Law School, alumni of the National Mock Trial Team and members of the Bar served as judges and evaluators in the preliminary rounds.

“Congratulations to the 2023 Baker Competition Champions. We are all proud of the high level of trial advocacy skills they demonstrated,” said Associate Dean Andrew Rossner. “The Nathan Baker Competition is an extraordinary educational opportunity for our students to develop trial advocacy skills and showcase their talent.”  This year, the competition was preceded by a series of half-day, learn-by-doing trial advocacy workshops in which students received instruction on various trial related skills. They were then able to perform them in mock trial situations and receive constructive feedback.  

Dean Rossner added, “Many thanks to the Moot Court Board, Board Co-Chair Mitchell Chan, and the other Board members who handled the administration of the Competition, as well as serving as witnesses and bailiffs. Many thanks also to Josephine Nagle, Program Coordinator, and Wei Fang, Associate Dean for Information Technology, for their invaluable help.”

Anika Nelson, Erin Hamilton, Sean Muirhead, Matthew Raber
L-R: Anika Nelson, Erin Hamilton, Sean Muirhead, Matthew Raber

Rutgers Law Media Contact:
Shanida Carter

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