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St. John’s Students Excel in 2016-2017 Competition Season

Thursday, April 20, 2017

St. John’s Law offers students a wide range of opportunities to build essential lawyering skills hands on. Through the co-curricular Frank S. Polestino Trial Advocacy Institute (PTAI/trial advocacy), Moot Court Honor Society (appellate advocacy), and Dispute Resolution Society (alternative dispute resolution), students participate in diverse competitions at the Law School and across the country.

As they have in past years, St. John’s student advocates excelled during the 2016-2017 competition season. Here are just some highlights from this banner competition year:

The team of Anthony Masciana '18, Matthew Powers'17, Thomas Salmon '17, and Kristy Stanislawczyk '17, along with coaches Alex Gilbert '06 and Mike Maffei '10, took the championship at the American Bar Association's Criminal Justice Trial Advocacy Competition at Quinnipiac University School of Law. Stanislawczyk won the award for best oral advocate.

Sheharyar Ali '17, Arielle Cummings '17, Matt LaSorsa '17, and Joanna Matuza '17 were finalists at the Queens District Attorney’s Third Annual Mock Trial Competition. Mike Vicario '09 and Joseph Calabrese '91 coached the team.

Coached by Brian Hughes '07 and Kirk Sendlein '08, Christine Chu '18, Michael Napolitano '17, Maurice Sayeh '17, and Sarah Silverhardt '17 advanced to the semifinals of the Buffalo-Niagara Mock Trial competition. 

Janelle James '19, Tina Kassangana '19, Olayemi Olurin '18, and Adina Phillips '18 teamed to compete at the Thurgood Marshall Mock Trial Competition. With the only all-female team in the competition, they placed fourth overall and advanced to nationals. Masai Lord ‘14 and attorney Abraham Rubert Shewel were the coaches.

The team of Arielle Cummings '17, Joanna Matuza '17, and Jillian Shartrand '18 bested a crowded field to take first at the Texas Young Lawyers Association (TYLA) National Trial Competition regionals. Cummings received the best opening award and Shartrand had the second best direct and second best closing. Brian Hughes '07 and Kirk Sendlein '08 were the winning coaches.

Christina Brennan '18, Dana Kurtti '18, Christina Mavrikis '18, and Avery Nagy-Normyle '18 teamed with coaches Erik Snipas '14 and Brenna Strype '14 to take first at the FSU College of Law 5th Annual Civil Mock Trial Competition. The team tried a case for copyright infringement and went undefeated throughout the competition. Nagy-Normyle earened the competition's best oral advocate award.

The St. John's team of Christine Chu '18, Matthew LaSorsa '17, Danny Quinn '18, and Maurice Sayeh '17 competed in the National Criminal Justice Trial Competition hosted by the ABA and John Marshall Law School. Standing out in a field of 22 schools, the team was the first seed through the semi-final round and never lost a ballot until the semifinals. Quinn won an individual award for best opening statement. The team was coached by Alex Gilbert '06, Mike Maffei '10, and Joe Muscarella '15.

Moot Court Honor Society
Christopher Atlee F. Arcitio '17 and Anna Chen '17 advanced to the quarterfinals of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association's Thomas Tang National Moot Court Competition. Kristin Lee '15 coached the team, which swept the northeast regional rounds and earned the best brief award there. Lee and teammate Lawson Huynh '16 took second place at the Thomas Tang nationals in 2014. This year marked the third time in four years that a St. John's team won regionals and advanced to nationals in the competition.

Timothy Gallagher '17 and Rachel Houle '17 won the Emory University School of Law Civil Rights and Liberties Moot Court Competition. They were coached by James Kerins '17 and Emily Walsh '09.

David Knapp '17 and Kristen Lasak '17 competed at the Leroy R. Hassell, Sr. National Constitutional Law Moot Court Competition, advancing to the quarterfinals. The team won best respondent’s brief, and Knapp was recognized as the second best oralist. The team was coached by Corey Trail '17 and Thomas Gerrity '09. 

The team of Cristen McGrath '18, Cory Morano '18, Mark Niedziela'18, and Erin Seery '18 reached the quarterfinals in the northeast regional rounds of the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition. Bryant Gordon '18 participated in drafting the written pleadings for the competition. Former competitors Laura Raheb '16 and Shaun Hiller '15 coached the team.

Julie Lavoie '18 and Madeline Collins '18 competed in the John J. Gibbons National Criminal Procedure Moot Court Competition at Seton Hall University School of Law. Beating out 40 teams from across the country, they advanced to the semifinals) and won best respondent's brief. Ray Mechmann '17 was the team's student coach, and Thomas Rooney '10 served as the alumnus coach.

The top 2L advocates who advanced to the finals of the internal Roy L. Reardon Moot Court Competition were William Accordino Jr. '18, Sara Jackson '18, Julie Lavoie '18, and Cory Morano '18. They argued before a panel of distinguished judges—all St. John’s Law alumni—that included Roy L. Reardon Roy L. Reardon '54, '00HON, Nicholas M. Cannella '75, and Hon. Edward W. McCarty III '70.

Corey Trail '17 and Sara Jackson '18 advanced to the final round of the Irving R. Kaufman Memorial Moot Court Competition at Fordham Law School. They were coached by James Kerins '17 and Kate Garland '12.

Dispute Resolution Society
Aaron Leaf
'17, Melanie Lee '17, Michael Lezamiz '17, Michael McConnell '18, Janel Rottkamp '18, and Amanda Tersigni '18, along with coach Daniel Merker '11, competed in the Judith S. Kaye Arbitration Competition organized and hosted by the American Arbitration Association. The team was awarded a certificate for best cross-examination

Nick Berg '17, Sean McGrath '18, and Miller Lulow '18 teamed to win the two-day National Baseball Arbitration Competition at Tulane Law. They were coached by Ryan Lake '13LL.M. and Kap Misir '04CPS, '13LL.M. Lake and Misir coached last year's St. John's team to the final round of the competition.

The team of Stephanie Canner '18 and Amanda Tersigni '18 placed second at the regionals of the ABA’s Representation in Mediation Competition. Raspreet Bhatia'16 and Michael McDermott '15 served as coaches.

Elidger Dauphin '19 and Terrell Hutchins '19 bested 19 other teams to win the 2017 DRS 1L Internal Negotiations Competition. The team of Daniel Randazzo '19 and Olivia Tourgee '19 made a strong showing to take second place. The competitors were tasked with demonstrating their negotiation skills to the St. John’s Law alumni and negotiation professionals who served as judges. Pictured here, clockwise from front left: Terrell, Elidger, Olivia, and Daniel.

About the Dispute Resolution Society
The Law School's Dispute Resolution Society (DRS) is the student division of The Hugh L. Carey Center for Dispute Resolution. Formed in 2007, DRS seeks to meet the demand for practical education in the constantly developing field of alternative dispute resolution. DRS helps St. John’s Law students hone their negotiation, mediation, and arbitration skills through events, seminars, and intra-school competitions held at St. John's and in external competitions hosted locally, nationally, and internationally.

About the Moot Court Honor Society
The Moot Court Honor Society trains its members in effective advocacy in both brief writing and oral argument. In collaboration with the Center for Bankruptcy Studies, it also co-hosts the annual Hon. Conrad B. Duberstein Bankruptcy Moot Court Competition, which is widely recognized as one of the nation’s preeminent moot court competitions.

About the Frank S. Polestino Trial Advocacy Institute
Since its launch in 2002, PTAI has provided St. John’s Law students with diverse opportunities to participate in trial training programs, competitions, and trial-related legal writing forums that promote and support St. John's reputation as a leader in the field of trial advocacy.