TAHP Wins Regional Round of National Trial Competition, Advances to Nationals
Southwestern's Trial Advocacy Honors Program team of Bahareh Aghajani, Katherine Bruce and Kunal Jain tied for First Place at the Southwest Regional Round of the National Trial Competition (NTC), which was held in San Diego. As a top finisher, the team will travel to Austin, Texas to compete in the National Championships.
Southwestern tied with Loyola Law School for top honors at the event where 29 teams participated, including Arizona State University, Brigham Young University, California Western, Chapman University, Pepperdine University, Thomas Jefferson, University of Hawai'i at Manoa, University of San Diego, and University of Utah, among others.
The teams argued a case in which a young man was accused of driving negligently after his car collided with the back of a stopped 18-wheel truck, resulting in the death of the driver's passenger. At the regionals, the first two rounds were held at the Superior Court in downtown San Diego. The final two rounds were held at Thomas Jefferson School of Law.
"A unique aspect of NTC is that the host supplies the witnesses," Bruce explained. "Meaning, we have no idea who will play the witnesses, how they will appear to the jury, what they know and understand of the problem, and what will come out of their mouths on the stand. For this case, the witnesses were the plaintiff (the decedent's parent), the investigating officer, the defendant (the boyfriend), and an expert in traffic accident reconstruction."
Alumni Douglas Baek '08, Ashlee Clark '11 and Navid Nakhjavani '04 coached Southwestern's team. They practiced several days a week and provided guidance on all related matters of the competition, from exploring all facets of the case to the most effective presentation methods.
"Our team believed in each other. We always kept telling each other that we can win this thing, and we put a lot of faith in each others' ability," said Jain, who acted as team swing, arguing for both the plaintiff (with Aghajani) and defense (with Bruce). "It was a good feeling to win. TAHP is really on a roll this year. We were happy we got to continue pushing the program forward. Now we are just trying to keep our eyes on the goal, which is a national championship."