Trial Advocacy Ends Victorious Season as Champions

  • By Kayla Molander

Chicago-Kent College of Law’s trial advocacy team has returned home with awards and accolades after a highly successful 2023 fall season.

The team kicked off the season at the Hofstra National Medical-Legal Trial Competition, hosted by Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University and Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell. Yoss Arianlou ’25, Victor Chahin ’25, Caroline Woodmancy ’24, and Dulcie Xue ’25 flew to Long Island, New York, to compete in the only competition in the country where a law school and medical school collaborate to simulate real-life expert testimony by doctors. The practice problem involved a wrongful death action against a chiropractic office for a dissected artery in the neck. The team was undefeated until the final round, finishing second overall. Chahin earned the tournament’s prestigious Outstanding Attorney award.

That was just the beginning of the team’s success. At the Buffalo Niagara Trial Competition, hosted by the University of Buffalo School of Law, Emanuel Centeno won the Best Cross Examination award. Jack DeBacker ’24 and Nico Colombo ’25 brought home two trophies from the National Civil Trial Competition at Loyola Law School: Best Closing Argument and Best Direct Examination. The National Trial League Team, comprised of Sandra Khouri ’23, Haya Muhammad ’24, Aaron Hunt ’25, and Samuel Clendenning ’25, won Best Advocate awards for their in-round performances throughout the entire competition season.

Lastly, Chicago-Kent’s team emerged as champions of the inaugural Chicago Cup Tournament, a co-venture of six area law schools , including Chicago-Kent. The team, comprised of advocates Alexis Beck ’24 and Claire Bullington ’24, and witnesses Melissa McCollum ’26 and Ella Youash ’26, tackled a fictional case based on a real-life FBI operation—Operation Greylord, a sting designed to weed out judicial corruption in Chicago. Beck and Bullington acted as double-sided advocates, representing both the prosecution and the defense. McCollum and Youash served as double-sided witnesses.

The team is now planning to duplicate its success in the upcoming 2024 season. In the spring the team will compete in the National Trial Competition, the American Association for Justice Trial Competition, and the Queens District Attorney Trial Competition.

Chicago-Kent’s trial advocacy team is consistently ranked as one of the best in the country. In its 2024 rankings, U.S. News & World Report ranked it as the ninth-best trial advocacy program nationwide.

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