The UC Hastings Trial Team won The National Ethics Trial Competition held this past weekend in the Robert T. Matsui U.S. Courthouse in Sacramento. This competition, hosted by McGeorge School of Law, is widely considered the most prestigious national invitational and invites the 20 best teams in the country to participate.
2Ls Maryam Ahmad, Luz Robles, Pablo Wudka-Robles, and 3L Emily Stover admirably represented UC Hastings throughout this grueling 3-day event, which includes preliminary, semifinal, and final rounds. Head Coach Geoff Hansen remarked that “each round was incredibly close, but the team won them all. One of the scoring judges told me that it was the finest performance by a student trial team he had ever seen.”
Adding to their incredible victory, the Trial Team also swept the individual awards. 2L Pablo Wudka-Robles received the “Top Advocate Award” for the preliminary rounds, and 3L Emily Stover received the “Top Advocate Award” for the final round. "This win belongs to everyone on the UC Hastings Trial Team, not just the four people who worked on this case. We all work together and support each other—while we’re on the team and after graduation, as part of our wonderfully supportive group of alumni coaches. And none of that would be possible in the first place without our coach Geoff Hansen's tremendous warmth, dedication, and instruction," said Emily.
The UC Hastings Trial Team is now recognized as a true powerhouse in the world of trial advocacy. “We earned that recognition by hard work, dedication, and pure devotion by each and every member of the team,” said Geoff Hansen. “It is truly a team effort and we are here because of the effort of our students and the financial and coaching assistance of UC Hastings alumni.”
Coach Cliff Smoot ’15, an attorney at The Veen Firm, gave his time and his firm’s office space to help the students prepare for their victorious run. “The Team also benefitted from the help of the attorneys at my firm, including Anthony Label ’99, who sat in on a practice session and listened to the students’ opening and closing statements. Rob Moutrie '14 coached several practices for the Team. We even received expert advice from UC Hastings visiting professor and renowned trial attorney, Shanin Specter.”
“The Team always works hard and I’m especially proud of their success at this competition. We prepare students to focus on practical, real-life trial skills. This does not always go hand in hand with winning mock trial competitions. However, in this competition, the judges were actual practicing judges from superior and federal courts, and the jurors were experienced trial attorneys. Based on their feedback, I think the Team could’ve won an actual case with this performance–not just a mock case.”
One of the most ardent supporters of the Trial Team (both in volunteering and financial support) has been UC Hastings alumnus Roger Dreyer ’80. Roger even treated the Team to dinner to celebrate their success. “Everyone in the UC Hastings family should swell with pride on what the Trial Advocacy team has accomplished under Geoff Hansen’s stewardship. The team has performed at a level that all schools envy, as demonstrated by their National Championship last year and this year’s National Ethics Championship. To achieve this type of results, you have to have superior students and competitors who have worked tirelessly on behalf of the school. They will take what they learn in trial practice at UC Hastings and carry on the proud tradition of our school in courtrooms throughout the state and nation.”
For more information on the UC Hastings Trial Team, click here.
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