Whittier Law School students sharpen oral advocacy skills

Nearly 60 students participated in the Trial Advocacy Honors Board and the Moot Court Honors Board this year at Whittier Law School. Both programs fall under the umbrella of the Institute of Trial and Appellate Practice (ITAP), directed by Associate Professor Martin Pritikin. Earlier in the year, Trial Ad/Moot Court students had the chance to meet and talk with past board members at the first mixer held by the Office of Alumni Relations.

According to Professor Pritikin, “This year, we’ve been working very strategically to make both teams more competitive, and getting feedback from very experienced practitioners at the trial and appellate level to improve our skills.”

Professor Pritikin recently developed a 150-page training manual to improve the competitiveness of our mock trial teams. A training manual for the Moot Court Honors Board is being planned as well. A new Advanced Appellate Advocacy course will also be offered in the Fall, which utilizes the skills of our own legal writing faculty as well as seasoned appellate practitioners.

Trial Advocacy Honors Board

The Trial Advocacy Honors Board competed in two competitions this year, in the San Diego Defense Lawyers Competition and the Texas Young Lawyers Association’s National Trial Competition, where one of the Whittier Law School teams was ranked 9th after the qualifying rounds, won the first play-off round, and narrowly missed advancing to the final round.

According to Associate Professor Pritikin, “Coaching the Trial Ad Honors Board is definitely my most rewarding experience at Whittier Law School. It was also my most rewarding experience when I was a student at Harvard Law School. When you spend this much time and this much intensity on a project, you really come to feel like you’re a family with the students.”

Moot Court Honors Board

The Moot Court Honors Board had six teams competing externally this year. In addition, Whittier Law School’s Jessup International Moot Court Team traveled to the Pacific Regional Competition at Lewis and Clark Law School in Portland, Oregon and performed exceptionally well. The team won three out their four preliminary rounds, finishing in 10th place, ahead of teams from UC Berkeley, USC, UC Davis and Loyola Law School.

Juvenile Moot Court Competition

The annual Juvenile Law Moot Court competition, the only one of the kind in the nation, was once again hosted at the law school. The competition attracted more teams than in the two previous years and also attracted judges such as Erwin Chemerinsky, Founding Dean of UCI Law School, and Judge Michael Nash.

Alternative Dispute Resolution

The Institute of Trial and Appellate Practice has also endeavored to send students to inter-school competitions relating to mediation and alternative dispute resolution. This year, student teams were sent for the first time to the ABA Competition on Negotiations. Our team also competed at the Environmental Negotiation Competition where they ranked 9th out of 26th among teams from California, besting UCLA and Berkeley, among others.

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