News & Media

Gabriella Russo(3L) ranked in the top 40 of almost 200 in the National Online Trial Advocacy Competition

Published: April 21, 2020

Congratulations are due Thomas Jefferson School of Law's Gabriella Russo, who ranked in the top 40 of the first-ever National Online Trial Advocacy Competition.The online competition was organized by UCLA School of Law and Fordham University School of Law to help fill the void left by the cancellation of the Spring 2020 San Fernando Valley Bar Association Mock Trial Competition, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Students were given a case file loosely based on the ongoing college admissions scandal, and were asked to write, perform and record an eight-minute opening statement on behalf of either the U.S. Department of Justice or the defendant, who was accused of hiring a third party to cheat her daughter into admission at prestigious universities. Students were permitted to consult with their coaches, but to ensure a level playing field, they were prohibited from using any exhibits or visual aids.

The video submissions were sent for review and scoring to more than 400 judges, including practicing trial attorneys, law school professors and even sitting trial court judges, who are alumni from more than 100 different law schools.