Trial Advocacy Honors Program

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The Trial Advocacy Honors Program (TAHP) was created in 1994 for students who are interested in developing the important litigation skills and valuable confidence necessary to excel in trial advocacy. Through TAHP, members (or advocates) learn to express their creativity in a simulated trial atmosphere, presenting arguments with composure and poise, while mastering the rules of evidence.

Teams participate in national and regional mock trial competitions (consisting of both criminal and civil trials) throughout the academic year, where they demonstrate case preparation, pre-trial motions and preliminary matters, opening and closing statements, direct and cross examinations of witnesses, and use of exhibits. Advocates have earned awards at some of the nation's most prestigious invitation-only competitions, judged by distinguished members of the bench and bar.

TAHP advocates have the privilege of being trained by Southwestern faculty and alumni coaches whose dedication to the program have made it what it is today. Professors Joseph Esposito '89 and Bill Seki '88 serve as co-directors of the program.

  1. Intramural Competition

    The Trial Advocacy Honors Program's (TAHP) intramural competition is open to all first-year day, evening, PLEAS, and part-time day students who have completed the requirements of their LAWS II course. The TAHP intramural competition is not based on the same case file as used in the LAWS II Trial Practice track and is not connected to the mandatory LAWS round. The intramural competition consists of five rounds of competition after the mandatory LAWS advocacy round has concluded:

    • Intramural Round One (for all competitors)
    • Intramural Round Two (for all competitors)
    • Quarter Finals: top 8 advocates
    • Semi Finals: top 4 advocates
    • Finals: top 2 advocates

    In the first round of the Trial Advocacy intramural competition, advocates conduct a closing argument. The best advocates of the first round are invited to compete in the second round, where they conduct a direct examination and a closing argument. At the conclusion of the second round, the top eight advocates are invited to compete in single elimination rounds. The eight finalists are chosen on the basis of a combined score of points from the first two intramural rounds. Several  students will receive awards in recognition of their accomplishments in the competition: the finalists and additional students selected from the first two optional rounds.

  2. Membership and Selection

    Students must be interviewed to be considered for membership in the Trial Advocacy Honors Program (TAHP). The Trial Advocacy Honors Program may decide who they wish to interview but will invite (at least) the top eight finalists (i.e., those students who competed in the quarter-finals in the spring Intramural Competition) to interview for membership. After interviewing, membership selection is made by the program's faculty advisors with the assistance of the Trial Advocacy Honors Program Board of Governors. Selections are based on the student's performance in the intramural competition, the attitude of the candidate, and a willingness to commit to the program. To be eligible for consideration for the Trial Advocacy Honors Program, a student must be in good academic standing.

  3. Current Members

     

    2022-2023 Board of Governors

    • Kari Van Sinden - Chair of the Board
    • Taylor Kruse - Competitions Chair
    • Armando Sanchez - Academics Chair
    • Haley Grace Clark - Communications Chair
    • Kaitlyn Fry - Alumni Relations Chair

    Members: Senior Advocates

    • Katherine Brewer
    • Alana Chester
    • Haley Grace Clark
    • Nazenin Eghbal
    • Kaitlyn Fry
    • Andrew Gianelli
    • Rosemary Karapetyan
    • Taylor Kruse
    • Zara Mokhtar
    • Lily Pahlevani
    • Amrita Patil
    • Lindsay Roginski
    • Armando Sanchez
    • Kari Van Sinden
    • Ken Villanueva
    • Alex Welfringer
    • Ash Wold

    Members: Junior Advocates

    • Colleen Blackburn
    • Cristina Cirrincione
    • Ladijah Corder
    • Karine Hafuta
    • Destinee Moya
    • Joseph O'Hanlon
    • Michelle Schaubert
    • Rachel Stern
    • Kasey Takahashi

    Co-Directors

    • Professor Joseph Esposito '89
    • Professor Bill H. Seki '88

    Team Coaches

    • BJ Abron
    • Bahareh Aghajani
    • Anet Badali
    • Doug Baek
    • Jessica Balady
    • Philip Bather
    • Mackenzie Brown
    • Jezabel Chavez
    • Elizabeth Cerelli
    • Jeremy Davis
    • Jahmy Graham
    • Sara Greco
    • Kevin Gres
    • Sheetal Jhala
    • Shiraz Khalid
    • Esther Kim
    • Michelle Lewis
    • Mark Montellana
    • Michael Morse
    • Negin Mostadim
    • Navid Nakjhavani
    • Ashley Rivkin
    • Melissa Romo
    • Anastasia Sagorsky
    • Parisa Saleki
    • Vira Samouhi
    • Daniel Selarz
    • Ashley Stone
    • Jennifer Turner
    • Roger Wilkerson, III
    • Christine Wood
    • Brian Yasuzawa