SWLAW Blog | Awards & Honors

2017 Intramural LAWS Competitions

April 12, 2017

First Year Students Compete in Intramural Competitions

For the ninth consecutive year, Southwestern’s three-track Legal Analysis, Writing and Skills (LAWS) curriculum has enabled first-year students to display their newly-honed abilities across three disciplines: traditional Moot Court (appellate), Trial Advocacy, and Negotiation. On Saturday, April 8, they impressed the judges when they argued, wrote and negotiated in Southwestern's 2017 Intramural Advocacy Competitions. Awards were presented in a banquet held at the L.A. Hotel Downtown.

Moot Court/Appellate Competition

After completing final oral arguments in the Moot Court competition, traditional day program students Xhesi Hysi won First Place and Deshani Senewiratne earned Second Place. Semi-Finalists included Madelynn Hefner (day program) and SCALE student Sheena Tehrani.

The final bench included Hon. Cheri Beasley, North Carolina Supreme Court; Hon. Rives Kistler, Oregon Supreme Court; Hon. Sabrina S. McKenna, Hawaii Supreme Court; Hon. Milan D. Smith, United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit; and Hon. Ann A. Scott Timmer, Arizona Supreme Court. 

In the brief writing portion of the competition, SCALE student Dylan Sydneysmith won First Place while day program students Antony Kim took Second Place, and Chi Tran came in Third Place. 

In this year’s moot court problem, students addressed whether a school properly suspended a high school student under an anti-bullying policy for sending private text messages to his friends that teased a classmate and planned a series of pranks on her to be carried out during an upcoming school football game after the texts were posted on Facebook by a third party.

“Our students impressed the judges with their insightful and passionate oral arguments,” said Professor Tracy Turner, Director of the Legal Analysis, Writing and Skills Program at Southwestern. “We had some new judges this year, and they were amazed at what our 1Ls could do. In addition to their excellent arguments, all four semi-finalists showed the sort of collegiality and supportive culture that we strive to foster at Southwestern.  We are so proud of these students and the other competitors who represented the school so well in earlier rounds.”

Negotiation Competition

In the Negotiation Competition, day program students Kanani Datan and Yasha Ahoubim won First Place. Evening program students Brandon Faus and Ryan Chang took Second Place. Joanna Merrill (also one of the Best Brief award recipients) and Gayane Ghandilyan (both in the day program) earned Third Place, and SCALE students Sarah Wilson and Stephanie Le finished in Fourth Place. In addition to Merrill, Best Brief Writer honors went to Alexandra Chistolini (evening program) and Rightly Perry (day program). 

Judges for the final round of the Negotiation Competition included: Paul Bent '78, Senior Managing Director, The Alta Group, LLC and President & General Counsel, GoodSmith & Co. Incorporated; Charles Fairchild ’09, General Counsel, Lost Creek Land & Cattle Company, Board of Trustees, Southwestern Law School; Rajendra Sardesai ’93; and Angela Rose White ’78, California Court of Appeal, Second District, Retired.

Trial Advocacy

In the Trial Advocacy Competition, evening student Jared Timmons won First Place Advocate and day student Alanna Pires claimed Second Place. Day students Ron Irwin and Rien Susca were the semi-finalists. Arpineh Oganesyan and Brianna Tsutsui (both day students) won Best Brief Writer honors. 

In the mock trial, the competitors argued an arson case involving a Molotov cocktail thrown through a window. The championship round was presided over by an illustrious three judge panel consisting of Hon. Lisa Green, Kern County District Attorney; Hon. Michael Hestrin, Riverside County District Attorney; and Hon. Gregory Totten, Ventura County District Attorney. 

In his remarks at the end of the competition, Hon. Hestrin complimented Timmons on his remarkable courtroom presence, saying, “You took control the courtroom like an experienced lawyer and I thought it was very impressive.”

Hon. Totten added, “Both of you were exceptional, and I have my business card available at the end of the day if you want it, and I hope that you will come see me in a couple of years when you’re getting ready to graduate from law school.”

A video of the final round of the competition can be viewed here

For pictures from all of the 2017 Intramural Competitions and the banquet, visit Southwestern’s Flickr page