December 19, 2012
St. John’s School of Law recently hosted the 10th Annual
Peter James Johnson ‘49 National Civil Rights Trial
Competition. Sixteen teams from law schools across the country
competed in the tournament, trying their cases in front of panels
of prestigious judges and practicing attorneys. This year’s
competition fact pattern involved a prisoner retaliation
The competition’s preliminary rounds were held at Nassau County
Supreme Court in Mineola, NY and the quarter-final, semi-final, and
final rounds were held at St. John’s Law School. All of the
evaluators and judges voiced how impressed they were with the level
of advocacy and professionalism the competitors displayed
throughout the four-day event. The final round pitted a team from
Temple University Beasley School of Law against a team from the
Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University. Appearing
before Hon. Miriam Cyrulnik of Kings County Supreme Court and a
jury of New York trial lawyers and judges, Temple took first place.
The winning team members were Catherine Cramer ‘13, Kyle Garabedian
‘14, Adriel Garcia ‘13 and Ben McKenna ‘13. Philadelphia Assistant
District Attorney Sara Guccini and Justin C. Oshana of Saltz,
Mongeluzzi, Barrett & Bendesky PC coached the Temple team.
Jason Goldberg of Seton Hall University School of Law was named
Best Advocate in the competition.
“The competition allowed me and the other student participants to
experience real world practice without real world consequences,”
said Adam Papas ’14. “The judges and attorneys who volunteered gave
us invaluable advice and helped us better understand effective
The Peter James Johnson National Civil Rights Trial Competition is
the only national civil rights trial competition in the nation. In
2008, the competition was renamed in honor of the late Peter James
Johnson ’49, a St. John’s School of Law graduate who dedicated his
legal career to excellence in the practice of law.