Southwestern Law School Los Angeles, CA

News Release

March 04, 2013
TAHP Teams Impress at Regional Competition

Southwestern's Trial Advocacy Honors Program (TAHP) recently sent two teams to a regional tournament of the National Trial Competition (NTC) in Tucson, Arizona. In the preliminary rounds, the team of Michael Morse and Ashley Smolic were ranked first out of 24 teams. Southwestern's second team of Andrea Friedman and Anastasia Sagorsky ranked third overall in the initial rounds. Although they did not advance to the Nationals, Friedman and Sagorsky were one of four teams to make it to the final rounds of the regional competition. Morse and Fetyko advanced to the semifinals.

Twelve law schools sent teams to the regional competition, including UCLA, Pepperdine, Loyola, University San Diego, California Western, Whittier, University of Arizona, La Verne, Chapman, Thomas Jefferson and Western State. The competitors argued a murder case, in which a father was accused of shooting a young man, after learning that this man was romantically involved with his underage daughter. The defendant brought an affirmative defense of insanity.

"NTC, which is one of the premier trial advocacy competitions in the nation, has tough rules, including that teams can consist of a maximum of three advocates," Sagorsky explained. "Both of our teams consisted of only two advocates, meaning that both advocates had to present both sides of the case - prosecution and defense. Also unique to NTC is the fact that the competition provides witnesses (instead of other team members acting as witnesses, as is usually the case), and the advocates have only 15 minutes to prepare the witnesses before each round."

TAHP alumni Phil Bather '10 and Navid Nakhjavani '04, as well as evening student Kunal Jain, coached Friedman and Sagorsky. Alumni Brandy Chase '06, Jeremy Davis '11 and Maryam Parsioon '09 coached Morse and Smolic.

"In preparing for each competition, we get to work with our coaches, who are TAHP alums who love the program and cherish their experience to such a degree that they take time from their busy practices to coach our teams," Sagorsky said. "It's mentoring meets trial bootcamp meets a lot of fun, laughter, and a great sense of community."