UB Law School Gears Up for Sixth Annual Trial Competition

By Charles Anzalone

Release Date: November 12, 2009 This content is archived.


BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Nearly 130 law students from 32 colleges and universities will descend on the courtrooms in the Buffalo City Court building on Nov. 13 to test their legal mettle and wits at the University at Buffalo Law School's sixth annual Buffalo-Niagara National Mock Trial Competition.

Seventy-three mock trials will be conducted before more than 150 local lawyers and judges who have volunteered to serve as evaluators in the national competition running through Nov. 16. The law student advocates will try both sides of a mock murder case before the local judges and trial lawyers

"This is far and away the biggest competition in the country," said Hon. Thomas P. Franczyk, competition director and co-director of trial advocacy in the UB Law School. "The combined support from our law school, court system and bar association is phenomenal."

This year's case was drafted by Syracuse University Law School Professor Travis Lewin -- who was Franczyk's trial team coach at Syracuse University Law School in the early 1980s. The case involves the murder of a law school dean, shot to death in his office. The defendant is a law professor who was the dean's rival for the attentions of a popular law school co-ed.

"You've got a dead dean, a femme fatale and a slew of suspects to go around," Franczyk said. "Professor Lewin assured me the fact pattern is entirely fictional."

The event includes a welcome breakfast in City Court on 9:30 a.m. Nov. 13 and an awards banquet in Pettibone's Grille in downtown Buffalo at 7 p.m. Nov. 14. The championship round will be held 2 p.m. Nov. 16 in the State Supreme Court ceremonial courtroom. State Supreme Court Justice and UB Law School Evidence Professor Kevin M. Dillon will preside.

At the conclusion of the final round, the Best Advocate award will be presented in honor of Matthew J. Schnirel, a 2008 UB Law School graduate and former trial team member who died in a plane crash in April while returning home to Amherst from Ohio.

In addition to UB Law School, the competition will include students from Fordham University, Pace University, St. John's University, Syracuse University, Barry University, Florida Coastal School of Law, Nova Southeastern University, Chicago-Kent College of Law, University of Illinois, John Marshall Law School, Duquesne University and Temple University.

Also, Thomas Jefferson University, Widener University, University of Georgia, Georgia State University, Northern Kentucky University, St. Mary's University, South Texas College of Law, University of Connecticut, Pacific McGeorge School of Law, Cumberland University, Campbell University, Faulkner University, Creighton University, University of Wisconsin, University of Akron, Thomas M. Cooley Law School, Michigan State University, American University and Catholic University of America.

Since its founding in 1887, the University at Buffalo Law School -- the State University of New York system's only law school -- has established an excellent reputation and is widely regarded as a leader in legal education. Its cutting-edge curriculum provides both a strong theoretical foundation and the practical tools graduates need to succeed in a competitive marketplace, wherever they choose to practice. A special emphasis on interdisciplinary studies, public service and opportunities for hands-on clinical education makes UB Law unique among the nation's premier public law schools.

The University at Buffalo is a premier research-intensive public university, a flagship institution in the State University of New York system that is its largest and most comprehensive campus. UB's more than 28,000 students pursue their academic interests through more than 300 undergraduate, graduate and professional degree programs. Founded in 1846, the University at Buffalo is a member of the Association of American Universities.