|Trial Team Wins University of Puerto Rico Competition
For the second time this year, the Barry University School of Law trial team has been crowned champions of a prestigious trial competition, this time earning a victory at the University of Puerto Rico School of Law Trial Competition in San Juan. The win comes seven months after Barry’s trial team won the ABA National Criminal Justice Trial Advocacy Competition.
The Puerto Rico Trial Competition took place Oct. 23-25 and featured some of the most outstanding law school trial teams in the United States. The invitation-only tournament consisted of Barry, Loyola University (New Orleans), University of Houston, Catholic University, Fordham, Thomas Jefferson School of Law, University of Puerto Rico and William & Mary Law School. This was Barry’s first time competing at the Puerto Rico competition; the trial team was invited to participate after winning the ABA championship in March.
“This win is not only a success for these competitors, but is a confirmation that our trial team continues to excel in national competitions,” said Barry Law School Dean Leticia Diaz. “To receive an invitation to compete in this prestigious competition, and then to prevail over the other outstanding teams, makes me proud of what our students, faculty and coaches have achieved.”
Coached by Fermin Lopez, Barry’s trial team consisted of Leonard Addison (defense counsel), Nadia Ramkissoon (prosecutor), Marcus Hyatt (defense counsel) and Justin Chapman (prosecutor). The team’s road to victory began when it defeated Loyola in the first round followed by William & Mary in the final four and Thomas Jefferson in the championship round. The subject matter of the Puerto Rico competition was a murder case in which no murder weapon or body was recovered and trial teams were forced to argue the case based solely on circumstantial evidence.
“Thanks to many local attorneys and law professors, our team was given an abundance of valuable feedback and insight which helped make both sides of our case persuasive,” said Lopez. “There is no question that these Barry Law School students are among the most talented in the nation, but it’s their work ethic and tolerance that led us victory.”
Lopez and the trial team spent three to five nights a week and every weekend during the six weeks leading up to the competition preparing for the tournament. That preparation also proved valuable for Addison who won the Best Advocate Award. It marks the third time a Barry Law student has been the recipient of such an award at a national competition.
“Our success is certainly due to the efforts of our trial team competitors, but even more so to that of our coaches, mostly practicing attorneys, who give tremendous amounts of time and energy to teach the array of skills necessary to win championships,” said Mitch Frank, associate professor, trial team faculty advisor and coach. “No better example of such a person can be found than Fermin Lopez, an Orlando practitioner and a tremendous coach, to whom we all owe a great debt.”