Southwestern Law School Los Angeles, CA

News Release

Trial Advocacy Team Wins NTC Regional Competition February 26, 2009
Trial Advocacy Team Wins NTC Regional Competition

Southwestern's Trial Advocacy Honors Program (TAHP) team of Maryam Parsioon, Ken Holdren and Andrew Caple-Shaw won First Place at the Southwest Regional Round of the National Trial Competition (NTC), which was held in Fullerton. It is the first time Southwestern's TAHP team has won this competition. The team will compete March 25 to 28 at the Nationals, which will be held in San Antonio, Texas.

For the regional competition, the team tackled a fictitious case very similar to the one involving Michael Vick and dog fighting, which had captured the media's attention last year. Southwestern alumni Anthony Koutris '95 and Brandy Chase '06 coached the winning team. "This case was sanitized of the grisly pictures," Koutris said. "Both sides had equally problematic witnesses and the team had to argue both sides of the issue." The team has one month to prepare for a new case before the finals.

The team went undefeated in the preliminary rounds, beating the University of Arizona and Pepperdine University. They went on to beat the University of Arizona's other team in the quarter-finals, Loyola Law School in the semi-finals and Thomas Jefferson School of Law in the championship round.

"It was a truly incredible experience," team member Ken Holdren said. "In our round against Pepperdine, we found ourselves with an unprepared witness, and had to make on-the-fly adjustments. We wound up short of time and had to adjust virtually everything.  But by our third and fourth rounds against Arizona's other team and Loyola, we really found our groove and were performing at the top of our game. Our coaches and professors had really instilled in us the importance of owning the courtroom - and this is exactly what we were able to do more and more as we progressed."

Teammate Maryam Parsioon added, "The competition experience was so much fun. It was absolutely exhausting in between rounds, but every time we were in the courtroom and the clock started, everything just seemed to fall into place. Even when we made mistakes, there was a sense of camaraderie and support from my teammates that helped us pull through."

TAHP Advisor and Adjunct Professor Joseph Esposito said that the team's achievement is an important because only two tournaments, NTC and AAJ, award points toward the Tournament of Champions. "Tournament of Champions points are truly coveted by law schools as they permit schools to enter many exclusive, invitation-only mock trial competitions," Professor Esposito said. "All of the advocates and coaches deserve a huge round of applause for their hard work and dedication."

Two teams from Southwestern, each with three advocates, competed in the event. Team one included TAHP Chair Aaron Case, Carmen Miranda and Matthew Welde. They performed very well, beating both University of Utah teams in the preliminary rounds.