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Another Rewarding Semester for TJSL’s National Trial Team

January 14, 2015

The Thomas Jefferson School of Law National Trial Team has been busy this fall semester.  The competitions got off to a strong start with the San Diego Defense Lawyers (SDDL) competition held in San Diego. Plaintiff’s counsel Kierre Coghill and Justin Hall competed in the first round while defense counsel Melanie Guillen and Andrew Myers competed in the second round.  “The case was a medical malpractice case, and on the first night, Hall and Coghill were strong in their advocacy and cut through their competition with surgical accuracy” says Mr. Myers. Kierre Coghill, team captain, noted the positive feedback that the TJSL team received from the guest judges.  “The judges commented on how well prepared the teams were and that regardless of who won, all the competitors were sure to be wonderful trial attorneys.”  Although the team did not advance to the last round, their performance was the springboard for the Fall 2014 competition season.

In November, TJSL sent two teams to the American Bar Association Labor and Employment (ABA L&E) Competition held at the Federal Courthouse in Los Angeles, California.  It involved a wage and hour claim made by entertainers against the adult entertainment club they worked at, Bottoms Up Nightclub. TJSL’s first team, Plaintiff’s counsel Leanne Wilder and Ravi Mohan, competed in the morning round.  In the afternoon round, Defense counsel Precious Harrison-Cobb and Thomas Gennaro went against a different school and battled it out.  Ms. Wilder says that “the witnesses being played by the opposing team were very difficult and Thomas and Precious did a fantastic job when the witnesses wanted to fight them on every single question.” 

TJSL’s second team to compete in the ABA L&E competition consisted of Ashley Salas and James White for the plaintiffs, and Katie Smith and Leo Fuentes Varga for the defense.  “This competition really showed us that we can push ourselves to perform at a very high level” says Katie Smith.  She also noted how TJSL left a positive impression on the guest judges.  “We were commended by judges on our team work and our level of professionalism with the other teams.”  Unfortunately, TJSL did not advance to the semi-finals. Ms. Wilder says that “the fact pattern was fun and interesting and we are proud with our performance.”