December 15, 2017
From left to right: Bailey Ott, Christina McGinnis, Jessenia Caquias, Christa Mcleod.

The Rutgers Law School Moot Court Board’s National Trial Team had a successful start to the competition season, with four members of the team finishing as semi-finalists in the New York Regionals of the ABA National Mock Trial competition in Manhattan.  Four other members of the team were selected to compete in the prestigious 28th ABA/John Marshall Invitational Criminal Trial Competition in Chicago in March based upon their winning record last year and their finishing as semifinalists earlier this season at the Queens District Attorney’s Invitational Mock Trial Tournament. It is the first time the Rutgers team has been invited to compete in the ABA/John Marshall Invitational.

Jessenia Caquias ‘19, Bailey Ott ‘19, Christa McLeod ‘18 and Christina McGinnis ‘19 competed in the preliminary rounds of the ABA National Mock Trial Competition in Manhattan in November, winning both rounds and earning one of four spots in the semifinal round out of a field of 16 teams.  The competition problem was a civil case against a company for of a pattern of discrimination and wrongful termination of a born-again Christian employee.      

Earlier in the fall, four Moot Court Board Trial Team members finished as semi-finalists at the Queens District Attorney’s Invitational Mock Trial Competition.  Matthew Capone ‘18, McLeod, Melissa Taustine ‘18, and Steven Tegrar ‘18, competed in preliminary rounds in the Queens Invitational, winning those rounds and earning a spot in the semi-final round. Mcleod and Tegrar, representing the prosecution, defeated Louisana State University Law School's team and Capone and Taustine, representing the defense, defeated Boston University's team. Only six teams advanced to the finals from a field of 16.  By advancing, the Rutgers Law team bested 10 highly competitive teams including Temple Law, Fordham, and Brooklyn Law.

“We are so proud of the Moot Court Board team members.   They continue to raise Rutgers Law's national profile for mock trial and appellate moot court competitions,” said Dean Andrew Rossner, who coaches the National Trial Team and supervises Rutgers Law School’s Moot Court program.  “All the team members have worked tirelessly to hone their skills and develop into excellent advocates.  They have performed superbly in a very competitive field.” 

Co-Dean Ronald Chen said,”We applaud the success of each of the team members.  Many thanks to them for their hard work and dedication as representatives of the Law School in these compoetitions.   Many thanks also to Dean Andrew Rossner, who coaches the team and reorganized and enhancement the Moot Court Board and trial advocacy programs at the Law School over the past few years.  The enhanced program provides rigorous and effective trial advocacy training incorporating classes in evidence and trial advocacy with comprehensive and individualized instruction and skills training.   The recent team successes are dividends of that enhanced program.

Rossner added, ”Our Moot Court Board Advocacy could not be as successful without the dedication of members of the bar who volunteer their time to assist in training the team. Many thanks to Rutherford Livengood who has devoted countless hours to team practices and mentoring team members, as well as to Sam McCluskey, (add class year) and Brian Curley, who have assisted in coaching the team.”

In other Moot Court Board news, two student advocates, John Flynn ‘18 and Krystal Valentin ’19 argued before Appellate Court Judge Jack Sabatino and Superior Court Judge Martin Cronin in the 2017 Final Round of the David A. Cohn Appellate Moot Court Competition in November and were selected to represent the school in the ABA’s National Appellate Advocacy Competition in Chicago  in the spring.  Flynn and Valentin rose to the final round by winning their preliminary and semi-final rounds as well as writing excellent briefs, proving their skills as excellent appellate advocates. The case was a criminal search and seizure case involving a border search of a person’s cell phone, without probable cause, to obtain stored data on the phone.

Rutgers Law Media Contacts:
Mike Sepanic (Camden); Elizabeth Moore (Newark)

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