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Law School Hosts 2016 Peter James Johnson '49 National Civil Rights Trial Competition

Vice dean Emeritus Andrew J. Simons '65 (left) with winning William & Mary team members and Hon. Carnell Foskey (second from right) and Peter James Johnson, Jr. (right)
Monday, October 24, 2016

On October 20-23, 2016, St. John’s Law hosted its annual Peter James Johnson ‘49 National Civil Rights Trial Competition. Sixteen teams from law schools across the country competed in the tournament, trying a civil rights case in front of panels of prestigious judges and practicing attorneys. This year’s competition fact pattern involved an alleged wrongful termination of a transgendered woman by an MMA fighting tournament after they were put on notice about her gender identity status. 

The competition’s preliminary rounds were held at Nassau County Supreme Court in Mineola and the quarter-final, semi-final, and final rounds were held in St. John’s Belson Moot Court Room. For the sixth consecutive year, Alex Gilbert ’06 drafted the competition trial record to rave reviews. 

The student participants displayed an impressive level of advocacy and professionalism throughout the competition. The final round pitted a team from William & Mary Law School against a team from Houston College of Law. Appearing before Peter James Johnson, Jr., Hon. Carnell Foskey, and a jury of New York trial lawyers and judges, William & Mary took first place.  

“As competitors in many mock trial competitions, it was helpful having the opportunity to run and host a national competition ourselves,” said Kristy Stanislawczyk, Director of Special Events for the Law School’s Frank S. Polestino Trial Advocacy Institute (PTAI). “Watching student advocates from all over the United States come to St. John’s and share their unique styles and creative approaches to this year’s fact pattern was a great learning experience for our advocates, who were all instrumental in making this year’s competition a success.”

About the Peter James Johnson '49 National Civil Rights Trial Competition
Organized by PTAI, 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, Sr. ’49, a St. John’s Law graduate who dedicated his legal career to excellence in the practice of law and who is widely remembered as a "Warrior for Justice."