2014-2015 Year in Review: Pace Law Students Are Demonstrating Oral Advocacy Skills

The oral advocacy program at Pace Law School is a robust one as students have the opportunity to learn and practice oral advocacy skills by participating in the mock trial advocacy and the moot court competitions. Oral advocacy education is a critical addition to the traditional classroom learning emphasizing the value of preparation, hard work, and collaboration. It is an intense learning experience which instills great confidence in our students. During the 2014-2015 academic year, Pace law students participated in a total of 29 trial and moot court competitions in the areas of criminal law, civil rights, constitutional law, immigration law, labor law, client counseling, mediation, arbitration, negotiations, international environmental law, securities dispute resolution, energy and sustainability, international public law, international commercial arbitration, international criminal law, evidence, baseball arbitration, sports law, voir dire skills, trial skills, appellate advocacy skills, and more. Congratulations Teams and Coaches on a job well done! Special thanks goes to the Director of the Pace Oral Advocacy Skills Program, Prof. Louis V. Fasulo, the Pace Moot Court BoardMs. Loretta Musial, the administrative assistant, and all the coaches!

Mock trial competitions Pace law students participated in during 2014-2015 academic year:

National Sports Law Negotiation Competition // Thomas Jefferson School of Law (September 19-21, 2014) Sports Law Negotiation
Coach: Jared Hand, Esq.
Team Members: John Darminio (3L), Eddie Johannes (3L), Jesse Kantor (3L), Max Spaeth (3L)
The competition involved three different negotiations sports law fact patterns: 1) Preserving Torrey Pines; 2) Behind the Mask; and 3) Serving up Supplements, which involved an athlete’s use of supplements potentially leading to a failed PED test.

Stetson National Pre-Trial Competition // Stetson School of Law (October 16-19, 2014)
Coach: Prof. Eylan Schulman
Team Members: Cassandra Castellano (2L), Malini Dhanraj (2L), Catherine Peña (3L), Ancy Thomas (2L)
The competition involved a problem dealing with a plaintiff’s termination as a result of her exercise of her rights under the Family Medical Leave Act to care for her mother, who was undergoing cancer treatment.

In Vino Veritas Golden Gate Mock Trial Competition // Golden Gate Law School (October 23-26, 2014)
Coach: Prof. Keith Sullivan
Team Members: Arthur Muller (3L), Vittoria Fiorenza (2L), Kiera Fitzpatrick (3L), Alex Zugaro (3L)
The competition involved a criminal case of the United States of America v. Kelly Tipple Barrett, dealing with a scheme to defraud dozens of victims by siphoning cash from the equity in their homes, where the defendant was charged with eight counts of wire fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. sec. 1343 and two counts of aggravated identity theft, in violation of 18 U.S.C. sec. 1028A.

St. John’s National Civil Rights Trial Competition // St. John’s University School of Law (October 23-26, 2014)
Coach: Hon. Alexander Hunter
Team Members: April Booker (3L), Fationa Mamo (3L), Mathieu Reno (3L), Brittany Richardson (2L)
The competition titled “A Valentine’s Day Wedding” involved a claim by Plaintiff alleging that the defendant denied him/her full and equal accommodations/facilities/services because of his/her sexual orientation.

Judge Paul Joseph Kelly, Jr. Invitational Trial Competition // Fordham University School of Law (October 25-26, 2014).
Team Members: Joseph Fortunato (3L), Sameer Ponkshe (3L)
In this year’s competition titled United States v. Rishi Ramnarain the defendant was charged with conspiracy to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act.

ABA Negotiation Competition // ABA, Long Island, NY (November 9-10, 2014)
Coach: Stephanie Chow
Team Members: Alex Cirocco (2L), Patrick Lanciotti (2L), Tatiana Rugel (2L), Albert Vetere (2L)
The competitors negotiated a series of legal problems in simulations consisting of a common set of facts known by all participants and separate confidential information known only to each side’s representatives. All simulations deal with the same general topic, but the negotiation situation varies by round and level.

Buffalo-Niagara Mock Trial Competition // SUNY Buffalo Law School (November 6-11, 2014) Buffalo Niagara
Coach: Prof. Saad Siddiqui
Team Members: Zach Benoit (2L), Michael Pesin (2L), Debbie Robbins (3L), Hanna Shoshany (3L)
The competition involved a defendant, Melbourne G. Drysdale (Mayor of Buffalo Niagara) who was charged with second degree conspiracy to commit assault/attempted murder of Jean Hathaway (Council President of Buffalo Niagara) in the midst of a highly contented political race (Drysdale ran for the fourth time while Hathaway ran to be the first female mayor). Drysdale allegedly intended to secure the victim’s cell phone because the victim threatened to publicly disclose incriminating photos of Drysdale dressed as a woman.

ABA Labor Law // New York, NY (November 22-23, 2014) ABA Labor Law
Coach: Prof. John Meringolo
Team Members: Michael Chiaramone (2L), Michael Giordano (2L), Samantha Osgood (2L), Victoria Wagnerman (2L)
John Astarita (3L), Peter Garcia (2L), Marissa Koerner (2L), Sarah Lusk (2L)
The competition involved a lawsuit by two employees (dancers) seeking compensation and alleging they were employees rather than independent contractors and thus it was unlawful for the owner of the club to charge them money for working in the club.

National Baseball Arbitration Competition // Tulane University Law School (January 29-31, 2015)
Coach: Jared Hand, Esq. & Daniel Masi
Team Members: John Darminio (3L), Jesse Kantor (3L), Steven Stieglitz (3L)
The National Baseball Arbitration Competition is a simulated salary arbitration competition modeled closely on the procedures used by Major League Baseball (MLB). Competitors were assigned three players to argue for or against their requested salaries.

National Black Law Student Association Thurgood Marshall Mock Trial Competition // Connecticut, NY (January 29-31, 2015) image
Coach: Hon. Alexander Hunter
Team Members: Michael Armstrong (3L), Bianca Olliver (2L), Brittany Richardson (2L), Sean Sykes (2L)
The competition involved a defamation case where the plaintiff, Aaron Ahmed Abdullah, alleged losing a presidential race as a result of racist remarks made by the current president on Twitter. Pace team advanced to the semi-final round!

National Trial Competition // Syracuse University School of Law (January 30-31, 2015)
Coach: Joel Seidemann
Team Members: Luis Felix (3L), Joseph Fortunato (3L), Kenyon Griffin (3L), Matt Reno (3L)
The competition involved a case of People of the State of Lone Star v. Peter Paul Seeger, in which the defendant was charged with first degree assault and domestic violence for seriously injuring the victim and long time intimate companion, Adriana Testa, with a hammer.

John L. Costello National Criminal Trial Advocacy Competition // George Mason University School of Law (February 5-8, 2015)
Coach: Joseph Servino, Esq.
Team Members: Zach Benoit (2L), Malini Dhanraj (2L), Sam Nath (3L)
The competition involved a case of Commonwealth of Virginia v. Delphine Fisher, where the defendant was charged with murder in the first degree, and accused of killing her husband, Harry Fisher, by setting fire to the house where he was sleeping.

Pace Law School Round Robin Mock Trial Competition // Pace Law School, NY (February 6-7, 2015) Round Robin
Coach: Prof. Keri Gould
Team Members: Paul Cirner (2L), Vittoria Fiorenza (2L), Debbie Robbins (3L), Max Spaeth (3L)
This first annual internal mock trial competition welcomed four schools to participate in the competition involving a case of State v. Ravine, in which the defendant raised the defense of battered women syndrome. Vittoria Fiorenza of Pace won Best Prosecution Advocate Award.

ABA Client Counseling Competition // Brooklyn, NY (February 20-21, 2015)
Coach: Stephanie Chow
Team Members: Rana Marie Abihabib (2L), Malini Dhanraj (2L), Catherine Papandrew (2L), Levan Thomas (3L)
The competition involves different client matters in each round allowing competitors to develop interviewing, planning, and analytical skills in the lawyer-client relationship. The competition focuses on promoting greater knowledge and interest in the preventive law and counseling functions of law practice.

Queens County District Attorney Mock Trial Competition // Queens, NY (March 7-8, 2015)
Coach: Joseph Servino, Esq.
Team Members: Michael Chiaramonte (2L), Vittoria Fiorenza (2L), Hanna Shoshany (3L), Victoria Wagnerman (2L)
The competition involved a criminal case of People v. Jay Gurley, where the defendant was charged with first degree murder and accussed of shooting and killing Ruby Brown with a pistol.

Estrella Trial Advocacy Competition // Estrella, LLC in San Juan, Puerto Rico (March 7-8, 2015)
Coaches: Prof. Louis V. Fasulo & Prof. Keith Sullivan
Team Members: Kiera Fitzpatrick (3L), Michael Giordano (2L), Catherine Peña (3L), Sameer Ponkshe (3L)
The competition involved a civil law suit alleging negligence after a summon-wrestling competition went wrong, exploring issues of agency, scope of employment, and assumption of risk.

Show Me Challenge National Voir Dire Tournament // University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law (April 9-11, 2015)
Coach: Prof. Eylan Schulman
Team Members: Graham Chapman (3L), Alex Cumella (3L), Courtney Schneider (3L)
The competition involved a wrongful death law suit in which the mother of the victim alleged that her son died as a result of being mistreated by police officers who tasered him multiple times and physically restrained him while in custody causing him to suffer a cardiac arrest.

Moot court competitions Pace law students participated in during 2014-2015 academic year:

National Latina/o Law Student Association Moot Court Competition (September 18-19, 2014) NLALSA1
Team Members: Brielle Emhof (2L), Marissa Koerner (3L), Julisa Medina (3L)
The competition involved an issue of whether a city’s residency ordinance, requiring city employees to regulate residency in the state based on immigration status and prohibiting landlords from renting to undocumented individual, was preempted under the “regulation of immigration.”

National Moot Court Competition // New York City Bar (November 19-20, 2014)
Coach: Prof. Josh Scheier
Team Members: Donato Callara (3L), CJ Croll (3L), Annmarie Stepancic (3L)
The students chosen to participate in this competition are the top three students from the grand moot competition. The competition involved a case of Bolton Chemists Corp. et al.  v. Starke Pharm., Ltd., exploring the issues of preemtory srikes based on perceived sexual orientation and the Sherman Acts reach over foreign anti-competitive conduct that shares a reasonable causal nexus with domestic effects.

International Environmental Moot Court Competition // Stetson Law (February 6-8, 2015)
Coach: Prof. Matthew Brotmann
Team Members: Steven Lapkoff (2L), Kelly Nishikawa (3L), Charter Williams (3L)
The competition involved shark finning and trade restrictions issues in which a fictional State of Alopias violated international law because its nationals continued the practice of finning and spinning of mako sharks within its territorial waters and exclusive economic zone, and whether the fictional republic of Rhincodon violated international law by banning the importation of fish and fish products from the States of Alopias as a result of the questionable practice. Charter Williams of Pace received an award as Best Oralist in the preliminary rounds.

National Appellate Advocacy Competition (NAAC) // Brooklyn, NY (February 19-21, 2015)
Coach: Prof. Jennifer Arlin
Team Members: Brielle Emhof (2L), Meredith Gabay (2L), Eve Lincoln (2L)
The competition involved an appeal in an employment discrimination lawsuit brought under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 of Chuck Duncan v. Bigmart, Inc., in which the issues dealt with the review of  motion to dismiss after the jury verdict and the applicable standard for measuring the sufficiency of a complaint asserting private 
employment discrimination. Eve Lincoln of Pace received an oralist recognition.

Immigration Law Competition // NYU Law (February 20-22, 2015) Immigration Law
Coach: Prof. Vanessa Merton
Team Members: Washington Paul Alvarez (2L), Esma Onal (3L)
The Immigration Law Competition focuses on the latest immigration law issues. The competition involved an issue of whether federal immigration law preempts a city immigration law related ordinance, and whether Federal District Court has subject matter jurisdiction to review de novo a denial of naturalization application and grant declaratory relief once removal proceedings have begun.

Animal Rights Law Moot Competition // Lewis & Clark Law School (February 27 – March 1,  2015)
Coach: Mary A. Liebowitz & Dhara Patel
Team Members: Brad Landau (2L), Andrea Rodricks (3L)
The competition involved the issue of unconstitutionality of a fictitious statute, the Meat Eater’s Right to Know Act (MERK Act), which required slaughter plants to capture video in all locations where animals are kept. The problem included a challenge to the act by the American Slaughterhouse Association under both the First and Fourth Amendments.

National Energy and Sustainability Moot Court Competition // West Virginia University College of Law (March 12-14, 2-15)
Coach: Prof. Karl Rabago and John Bowie
Team Members: Rafael Corbalan (3L), Levan Thomas (3L)
The competition involved two issues: whether a particular midstream gas provider could be considered a public utility; and whether there was sufficient evidence in the Army Corps of Engineers’ record to uphold a jurisdictional determination of wetlands and deny a permit needed to construct a pipeline.

International Criminal Court Moot Court Competition Regional Round // Pace Law School, NY (March 20-21, 2015) ICC2015
Coach: Prof. Peter Widulski
Team Members: Nina Lee (2L), Brittany Patane (2L), Luis Rodriguez (2L), Ancy Thomas (2L), Anthony Ortiz (2L)
The competition titled Situation in Astafur, involved four issues: whether Astafur was competent to make an Article 12(3) Declaration, triggering the jurisdiction of the Court over war crimes committed in Pantos, despite its lack of effective control over the territory of Pantos at the time of submission of the Declaration; whether the Court had jurisdiction under the objective territorial principle over crimes committed by a Non-Party State (Braanos) via cyberspace that have an effect in a State (Astafur) that has lodged an Article 12(3) Declaration; whether the widespread disruption of communications and electricity during a revolt against the government of Astafur via a DDS attack constituted a war crime; and whether there should be two different victims’ legal teams under separate Victims’ Legal Representatives in this case because one portion of the victims supported secession and the other favored remaining part of Astafur.

Prince Evidence Competition // Brooklyn Law School (March 26-28, 2015)
Coach: Prof. Peter Widulski
Team Members: Marina Gubenko (2L), Jaclyn Halk (2L), Cassandra Papandrew (2L)
The competition involved an appeal to the US Supreme Court in the case of John Habib v. United States, exploring FRE 702 (expert psychiatric testimony regarding he credibility of a witness); the applicability of the Fifth Amendment privilege against compelled self-incrimination to the production of corporate documents in the possession of the defendant; and the qualification of statements as evincing religious bias made by jurors during deliberations as extraneous prejudicial information under FRE 606(b)(2)(A) and whether said statements deprived the defendant of his Sixth Amendment rights to a fair trial and an impartial jury.

Thurgood Marshall Federal Bar Memorial Moot Competition // Federal Bar Association, Washington DC (March 26-27, 2015)
Coach: Prof. John Meringolo
Team Members: John Astarita (3L), Joseph Fortunato (3L), Ashley Kersting (2L), Jacob Sher (2L)
The competition involved a criminal case of Kenny Bearson, a defendant who challenged police’s authorization to conduct search and seizure of his home under the Fourth Amendment and the admissibility of a third-party confession under the Sixth Amendment.

Jessup International Moot Court Competition // Shearman & Sterling, LLP, NY (February 12-15, 2015) Jessup small
Coach: Prof. Lucie Olejnikova
Team Members: Cassandra Castellano (2L), Bianca François (3L), Eileen Henry (2L), Michael Pesin (2L), Susi Yanez (2L)
The competition involved a case of Agnostica v. Reverentia, in which students explored the issues of treaty interpretation involving alleged breach of bilateral trade treaty, lawfulness of holding a referendum to secede, lawfulness of secession and subsequent annexation, and the removal of property as a result of the allegedly breached bilateral treaty.

Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot // Vienna, Austria (March 28 – April 2, 2015)
Coaches: Bryn Fuller, Esq. & Prof. Linda Wayner
Team Members: CJ Croll (3L), Brianne Cunningham (2L), Seham Elmalak (3L), Sara Girgis (2L)
The competition involved a case of Vulcan Coltan Ltd. v. Mediterraneo Mining SOE, in which the buyer, Vulcan Coltan Ltd. and the seller, Mediterraneo Mining entered into a contract for the sale of Coltan, a rare mineral. The competitors dealt with procedural and substantive issues:  the controversial application of the CISG to contracts formed in a commodity market; and whether a third party (a parent company in this case) can be forced into arbitration proceedings and whether the Emergency Arbitrator’s order had merit. The Pace team advanced to the top 32 round.

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