A Competitive Advocacy Program (CAP) trial team from California Western recently placed fifth nationwide in the National Board of Trial Advocacy (NBTA) Tournament of Champions, held November 1- 4. The invitation-only competition brings just 16 law schools who have the best three-year record of success to participate.
The team, made up of 3L James Carraway, 3L Anthony Esquibel, 2L Melissa Mueller, and 3L Danica Wahl, was coached by CAP alumni Solomon Chang '08 and Thomas J. Bahr '09. In addition to the impressive finish, Esquibel was named runner up for "Best Individual Advocate," and the team placed ahead of moot court powerhouses like Harvard Law by defeating teams that had defeated them.
This year's Tournament of Champions problem was adapted from an actual case, the premise of which was based on the prosecution of a sheriff who allegedly covered up mistreatment of inmates at the jail he oversaw. Individuals who worked on this case served as evaluators for the competition.
The preliminary rounds took place at the new U.S. Courthouse in downtown Los Angeles, while the semifinals and finals were at the Girardi Advocacy Center on the campus of Loyola Law School.
About the Competitive Advocacy Program
California Western is well known in San Diego and the nation for the success of its competition teams. The Competitive Advocacy Program (CAP) develops fierce competitors and profession-ready advocates who go on to become great attorneys. Faculty Advisor Mario Conte regularly hears positive feedback from judges after having a CAP graduate in the courtroom, praising their professionalism, courteous nature, and possession of a legal skillset that distinguishes them from their peers.
CAP includes trial, appellate, and ADR teams that compete regionally, nationally, and internationally.
About the Tournament of Champions
In 1989, Professor Charles E. "Chuck" Kirkwood, of the University of Akron School of Law, hosted the first Tournament of Champions Trial Competition. He invited the best trial advocacy law schools in the nation. Invitations were based on performance over the years in two "open" student trial competitions: the National Trial Competition and the American Association for Justice (AAJ) National Student Trial Advocacy Competition. The tournament was informal and fun, with a focus on outstanding trial advocacy skills.
Today, the tournament is one of the premier law school trial competitions in the nation and is known for having the highest quality of congeniality and good sportsmanship. Each year, 16 schools are invited. The invitations are based on a three-year performance record at the National Trial Competition and the AAJ National Student Trial Advocacy Competition, and performances at prior Tournament of Champions competition.