Southwestern Law School Los Angeles, CA

News Release

October 28, 2008
Southwestern Excels at Recent Moot Court and TAHP Competitions

Upholding its tradition in excellence in the appellate and trial advocacy arenas, Southwestern's teams from the Moot Court Honors Program and the Trial Advocacy Honors Program (TAHP) excelled at numerous competitions this past week, and each garnered a first place win.

Southwestern Triumphs at Wechsler First Amendment Moot Court Competition

Weinstein Cohen-Mays and Azat
Weinstein, Cohen-Mays and Azat

The Wechsler Moot Court Competition team of Michael Azat, Leah Cohen-Mays and Jillian Weinstein earned First Place in the National Competition in Washington D.C. Team advisor and Southwestern alumna Zee Rodriguez '99 guided the team in this First Amendment Competition, which explored an issue about a whether public university's professor's assignment of a grade constitutes speech and if so, does that right of speech belong to the university or the professor? Weinstein wrote the team brief on side of university (petitioner).

The team with Rodriguez
The team with Rodriguez (far left)

As an appellate prosecutor for the last eight years, Rodriguez said the team was well organized and a dream to work with. She advised them to always know where to go during the argument. "Judges don't want a regurgitation of the brief," Rodriguez explained. "They want to discuss the hypotheticals. I encouraged the team to answer questions in their own words and then use cases to support their positions. Our team was the best at doing that, and our ability to address this really paid off in the final rounds."

The John Marshall Moot Court team of Anne Cheung, Artin Gharibian and Colleen Kelley also performed well at the Chicago competition, defeating teams from India and South Dakota in the preliminary rounds and finishing as octafinalists.

TAHP Team Wins First National Championship

Koutris, Gardner, Caple-Shaw, Chavez and Amirkhanian
(from left) Anthony Koutris, Lindsay Gardner, Andrew Caple-Shaw, Vanessa Chavez and Armen Amirkhanian
TAHP's St. Johns Civil Rights Team won First Place at the National Invitational held in New York City. The team's four advocates - Armen Amirkhanian, Andrew Caple-Shaw, Vanessa Chavez and Lindsay Gardner

- went undefeated in the preliminary rounds, winning over the University of Miami School of Law and Chicago-Kent College of Law. The team then triumphed over Washburn University School of Law in the Semi-Finals, and went on to the Championship Round where they defeated Temple Law School.


"The team's Head Coach Anthony Koutris '95 and Assistant Coach Jennifer Turner '06 did a tremendous job preparing the advocates for battle," TAHP Co-Faculty Advisor and Professor Joseph Esposito

said. "They too deserve our praise for their hard work and dedication."


The TAHP California Attorneys for Criminal Justice (CACJ) Team of Robert Glassman, Ken Holdren, Hillary Levun and Miryam Parsioon also performed well in that competition's championship round, which was held at Southwestern. The received an Honorable Mention Award for defeating UC Hastings College of the Law and the University of Wisconsin Law School, and finished in Sixth Place out of 30 teams.