|Victorious: St. Thomas Law Trial Team members Luis Garcia, Chanae Wood, Karina Harduvel, and Jillian Tate.|
Two teams of four students from the trial team represented St. Thomas at the competition. Leonard Caracappa, Gabriella Espaillat, Jose Leal and Vanessa Pressoir represented the other St. Thomas team and received rave reviews for their skill, advocacy and professionalism. The teams were coached by Jeff James, Esq., Dionne McDonald- Josephs, Esq., and faculty advisor, Michael Mayer, Esq.
The competition consisted of twelve teams from eight law schools around the country. In each round, the students represented either the Plaintiff or the Defendant. As the Plaintiff, the students argued to a jury that the Plaintiff, an employee of the Defendant, was discriminated against, and fired for, religious reasons. As the Defendant, the students argued to the jury that the Plaintiff was not fired for religious reasons, but rather, because the Plaintiff was harassing other employees.
In the preliminary rounds, one team competed against the Universities of Denver and Texas. The championship team competed against Washburn University School of Law and Florida Coastal School of Law. After going undefeated and seeded #1 in the preliminary rounds, the championship team advanced to the semi-finals against the Texas Law School and argued for the Defendant. Receiving a unanimous verdict, the team advanced to the finals and competed against Emory University School of Law. At the end of a zealously advocated round, St. Thomas Law was named winner.
The trial team would like to extend its thanks to Professor Kenya Smith for working with the team and offering his guidance, knowledge and support.
Congratulations to the entire trial team on this incredible accomplishment. After months of group and individual practice, simulated trials against other members of the trial team, these students exemplified the meaning of hard work, dedication and sacrifice - way to make the entire St. Thomas family proud!
Good luck at nationals!