Regent University law students know how to take knowledge from the classroom and put it into practice. In their latest endeavor, the school's Trial Advocacy Board was awarded Best Brief at the National Pretrial Competition, hosted by Stetson University School of Law in Gulfport, Fla., on Oct. 2. This is the Trial Advocacy Board's first award.
Regent's team was composed of Brandon Carr, Jessica Coulter, Roberta Gantea and Carmelou Aloupas, all second- and third-year law students. The students prepared the briefs and presented arguments at competition. And Professor David Velloney coached them. "Our students excelled because of their meticulous attention to detail and tireless commitment to ensuring that they addressed every significant facet of the law in a clear and concise manner," said Velloney.
The group members are quick to direct the credit for their success beyond themselves. "We owe a great deal of our brief writing skill to Professor Kimberly Van Essendelft," said Carr, who also serves as chair of Regent's Trial Advocacy Board. When asked what set their brief apart from the others, Gantea replied "Organization. Great research gets a team nowhere if the brief is not easy to read and easy to follow."
Law School Dean Jeffery Brauch has long emphasized the importance of legal writing. "I am most proud that our school has brought home awards recognizing the increased standard of performance in the legal writing of our students," Brauch said recently at a Regent alumni banquet.
Regent University was one of seven teams invited to participate in the competition. Teams were given a civil issue that required them to research and write a brief arguing two issues: one based on Florida law, the other based on federal law. In addition to the briefs, teams had to present oral arguments and conduct cross-examinations of four witnesses.
While the team didn't win the overall competition, they're excited about the future. The Trial Advocacy Board will send teams to Washington, D. C., in November and Texas next semester. The trial competition team has already been invited back to Stetson University for next year's Pretrial Competition.
The Trial Advocacy Board joins the long list of Regent Law School teams that have won national recognition. Most notably, Regent's Moot Court teams have achieved elite status, ranking fifth in the nation, based on its numerous regional and national titles, as well as winning awards for their briefs. Regent's negotiation team also recently won a national title.