Frank S. Polestino Trial Advocacy Institute

The Frank S. Polestino Trial Advocacy Institute (PTAI) is a student organization committed to showcasing St. John's law students' extraordinary talent and interest in trial work. PTAI was dedicated in memory of Professor Frank S. Polestino in Spring 2001.

With a focus on excellence in trial advocacy, PTAI offers the law school community trial training programs, internal and external trial competitions and trial-related legal writing forums and events. In all our initiatives, PTAI promotes and supports the Law School’s reputation as a leader in trial advocacy. During the 2004-2005 academic year, the National Institute of Trial Advocacy (NITA) ranked PTAI the top trial team in the nation. 

Every year in the fall , PTAI runs the Charles M. Sparacio Criminal Internal Trial Competition and the Peter James Johnson National Civil Rights Trial Competition. In the spring, we host the Edward Hart Civil Internal Trial Competition, the McKenna Forum, the Advocate in the Spotlight Forum and the Brian Peterson Memorial First Year Trial Competition. Throughout the academic year, PTAI organizes, trains and prepares numerous external teams to participate in national trial competitions around the country, including the NITA Tournament of Champions and competitions hosted by the Texas Young Lawyers Association and the Association of Trial Lawyers of America.

PTAI's Executive Board manages our daily operations and ensures that PTAI events and competitions are successful. PTAI's office is located on the second floor of the Law School. Late into the night, the office is full of team members working on openings, closings, directs and crosses. Team members agree that being involved in PTAI is among their favorite law school experiences.  

For more information about the Frank S. Polestino Trial Advocacy Institute at St. John's School of Law, please contact us

Executive Director
Michael Schillinger

Faculty Advisor
Andrew Simons