Moot Courts, Mock Trials & Competitions

2014-15 Teams

In our 2014-15 season, teams from the School of Law repeatedly distinguished themselves. In at least three different cases, our law school's team reached all the way to the semi-final round in a “sudden death” elimination tournament.

American Bar Association’s Representation in Mediation Competition

Erica Pandolfo '16, Kelly Barrett '15; Coach, Steven Sugarman '85; Andrew DeMasters '16, and Sean Balkin '15

Two teams of law students – Sean Balkin ‘15 and Kelly Barrett ’15, Erica Pandolfo ’16 and Andrew DeMasters ’15 – represented the School of Law by participating in the 15th Annual Representation in Mediation Regional Competition, held at Levin College of Law, University of Florida on Feb 21-22. These students made up the two winning teams from UB’s own Representation in Mediation Competition, held at the school in November.

Pandolfo and DeMasters placed 2nd out of the 12 regionally qualifying teams, with Sean Balkin and Kelly Barrett placing 6th.  Pandolfo and DeMasters then proceeded to compete in the championship regional round but lost to the first place team in a close final mediation session (a 2 to 1 score of the judges).

Sponsored by the ABA’s Section of Dispute Resolution, the competition tests law students’ ability to use interest-based problem solving skills to engage the mediator and negotiate with the opposing party at the mediation table to reach a settlement. 

How Teams are Chosen: Details can be found online.
Team Members: Kelly Barrett '15 and Sean Balkin ’15; Erica Pandolfo ’16 and Andrew DeMasters ’16
Coach: Steven Sugarman '85

American Association for Justice (AAJ) National Student Trial Advocacy Competition

Coach Scott Allen, Seth A. Hiser ’16, Samuel M. Benatovich ’16, Alison M. Camp ’15, Michael S. Solomon ’15, Caitlin E. O’Neil ’15, Andrew J. Clement ’15, Edward T. Mazzu ’15, Aleece E. Burgio ’15, and Coach Jessica M. DeMichiel ’11.

The National Student Trial Advocacy Competition, sponsored by the American Association for Justice (AAJ), is an annual nationwide mock trial competition that gives law students the opportunity to develop and practice their trial advocacy skills before distinguished members of the bar and bench. This year’s regional competition was held on March 19-22, 2015, and was hosted by the School of Law.

Team Members: Caitlin E. O'Neil '15, Andrew J. Clement '15, Michael S. Solomon '15, Edward T. Mazzu '15, Aleece E. Burgio '15 & Samuel M. Benatovich '16.
Coaches: Jessica M. DeMichiel '11, Nick Romano '13, Scott Allen and Aaron M. Saykin '13.

John L. Costello National Criminal Law Trial Advocacy Competition

Aaron VanNostand ’16, Jamella James ’15 and Kerry Ferrell ’16

The Costello Competition was designed by Judge Jonathan Thacher to take participants outside the typical realms of law school competitions. By revealing unknown facts and witnesses as the competition progresses, the Costello Competition simulates the evolving and unexpected nature of real-life criminal trials. This provides competitors with a realistic experience as counsel in a criminal trial and an exciting take on trial advocacy.

Held: Feb. 5-8, 2015, in Fairfax, Virginia
Team Members: Jamella James ‘15, Kerry Ferrell ‘16, Aaron VanNostran ‘16
Coaches: Matt Murray & Rebecca Schnirel '14
Recap: Jamella James won Best Advocate as the team lost a narrow decision to the University of Houston in the final round. The SUNY Buffalo Law team beat teams from Texas, NYU, Valparaiso and South Dakota on the way to the finals.

Florida State University Mock Trial Competition

Rebecca Fioravanti ’15, Thomas Kotrys ’16, Aaron Jacobson ’16, and Merrick Sadler ’16.

The Mock Trial Competition consisted of law students trained in the art of trial-level litigation. Cases encompassed a wide range of topics in both the civil and criminal arenas. Case topics included insurance fraud, homicide, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligence and wrongful death.

Held: Mar. 20-22, 2015, in Tallahassee, FL.
Team Members: Rebecca Fioravanti ‘15, Thomas Kotrys ‘15, Aaron Jacobsen ‘16 and Merrick Sadler ‘16
Coaches: Hon. Tim Franzyk, Matt Powers and Erin Kulesus '13

Frederick Douglass Moot Court Competition

Front row: Stacey Walker ‘15, Anaiss Rijo ‘16, Oscar Kpota ‘15, Meghan Hart ‘16, Sarah Draper ‘16, Michelle Santiago ’16. Back row:  Anna McCarthy ‘15, Anastasia Stumpf ‘15, De'Jon Hall ‘16, Jerry Whalen ‘16, Mohammed Haque ‘15, and Andrea DiLuglio ‘15.

Six teams from the School of Law competed in the annual Frederick Douglass Moot Court Competition at the Northeast Regional Convention of the National Black Law Students Association in Groton, Connecticut from January 28 to February 1, 2015. Five of the six advanced to the tournament’s Sweet Sixteen following the event’s three preliminary rounds. Two of those teams then advanced to the quarterfinals, and one of those went on to semi-final round. Sarah Draper, ’16 and Meghan Hart, ’16, were the semi-finalists. Anna McCarthy, ’15, and Michelle Santiago, ’16, had advanced to the quarterfinals. This annual civil rights competition required each team to prepare an appellate brief during the fall 2014 term, as well as to present oral argument at the convention in a hypothetical case involving voting rights and other issues.

The other law school participants were Anastasia Stumpf '15, Oscar Kpota '15, Anaiss Rijo '16, Stacey Walker '15, Gerald Whalen '16, De'Jon Hall '16, Andrea DiLuglio '15, and Mohammed Haque '15. These teams were coached by Caitlin O'Neil '15, Mark Murphy '15, Katherine Ellis '15, Samih Tayeh '15, and Todd Potter '15. During the January term, further assistance was provided by alumni/ae Shayna Eichen '14, Edyne Paul '14, and Paul Meabon '14, who served as practice-round judges.

The Frederick Douglass team is supported by the law school’s Black Law Student Association.

How Teams are Chosen: In order to be chosen to represent the law school in the FDMCC, students are required to compete in an intramural selection process by submitting a case brief and making a mock oral argument during the spring preceding the Competition. Successful competitors are then matched into teams of two.

Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court (the “Jessup Cup”)

In late February, the School of Law sent an exceptionally strong team to the Jessup Cup’s Midwest Super Regional competition in Chicago. The Jessup Cup is the most prestigious and best-known moot court competition in the world. In 2014, the SUNY Buffalo team swept the regional round, advanced to the international round in Washington, D.C. - and then advanced all the way to the “sweet sixteen” round of a competition in which 620 teams from 89 countries had taken part. Two of Buffalo’s 2014 representatives finished among the top 10 oralists in the entire world. The 2015 Super Regional competition took place on February 20 to 22.

The 2015 Buffalo team, comprised of Brittany M. Crowley ‘15, Steven R. Fisher ’14, Stephanie L. Forman ‘15, Kathryn Krause ’14, and Amanda Ruth Webber ’15, swept all four of the Midwest Super Regional’s preliminary rounds and defeated the University of Michigan Law School team in the quarterfinals, advancing to the semi-final round for the third straight year. It met its match in the form of Wayne State University Law School in the regional semi-finals. The law school's team won fourth place in the brief (in international law “memorial”) writing category. Fisher and Crowley won the awards for, respectively, the fourth and ninth best oralists after the preliminary rounds.

Our successful team was coached once again by Kevin Espinosa ’09, of M&T Bank, and Michael Hecker ’09, of Hodgson Russ, the same coaching team behind last year’s run to the world’s top.

The Jessup Moot Court Board is responsible for the funding and management of the School of Law's annual participation in this competition.

Jeffrey Miller National Environmental Law Moot Court

Student coach Christine Sullivan '15 (center) with teammates John Darnall '16 and Amy Counter '16.

Under the leadership of Associate Professor Jessica Owley, the School of Law has only recently returned to this competition after a long hiatus. In the 2015 competition, held at Pace Law School on February 19 to 21, the law school was represented by a team comprised of John Darnell ’16, and Amy Counter ’16. The 2015 Competition Problem involved several complex issues relating to waterway access and pollution from large farms.

In their preliminary round outings, the Buffalo team opposed the two teams that ultimately won the competition’s awards for best and second best briefs, and, along with two-thirds of the teams attending, did not advance to the higher rounds of the competition.

Christine Sullivan ’15, served as a student coach, acting in tandem with Professor Owley, who has integrated an oral advocacy exercise relating to this Competition into her course “Current Topics in Environmental Law.”

National Ethics Trial Competition

Jaclyn F. Silver ’15, Rachael M. Pelleter ’15, Andrea K. DiLuglio ’15, and Douglas A. Edwards ’16.

Pacific McGeorge's National Ethics Trial Competition was established to promote ethical and civility awareness through the mock trial competition format. According to organizers, it is the only law school-sponsored competition that features both an ethical component in the issues to be tried and scoring based on the participants' observation of ethical and civility principles.

Held: Mar. 19-21, 2015, in Sacramento, CA.
Team Members: Jaclyn F. Silver ’15, Rachael M. Pelleter ’15, Andrea K. DiLuglio ’15, and Douglas A. Edwards ’16.
Coaches: Steve Earnhart ’14 and Howard Cohen

National Trial Competition

Sean S. Carberry ’15, Amanda Brisson Cannavo ’15, Christopher M. Berloth ’15, Sidney M. Dispenza ’15, and Sam Benetovich ’16.

The National Trial Competition was established to encourage and strengthen students' advocacy skills through quality competition and valuable interaction with members of the bench and bar.  It exposes law students to the nature of trial practice and to serve as a supplement to their education.

Held: Jan. 30-Feb. 1, 2015, in Syracuse , NY
Team Members: Amanda Cannavo ’15, Sean Carberry ’15, Sidney Dispenza ‘15, Chris Berloth ‘15, & Sam Benetovich ‘16.
Coaches: Chris O'Brien, Jennifer Scharf ‘05, Charles Ritter '93, and Michael Daumen ‘74.
Recap: Amanda Cannavo '15 and Sean Carberry '15 advanced to the semi- finals in Syracuse at the National Trial Regional Competition (NTC). Several awards were also presented to our students: Amanda Cannavo ’15 for best direct; Sean Carberry ’15 for best close; and Chris Berloth ’15 for best cross examination in the tournament.

Niagara International Moot Court (the “Niagara Cup”)

Ethan Notarius '15, Nikolay Feodoroff '16, and Merrick Sadler '16

The Niagara International Moot Court Competition held in Washington, D.C., February 19 to 21, where the School of Law team advanced to the event’s semi-finals. This venerable international law competition is sponsored by the Canada-United States Law Institute and focuses on cross-border issues. It draws teams from all over the United States and Canada. In 2013, Buffalo won the Niagara Cup for the first time in forty years.

The 2015 UB team consisted of Ethan Notarius '15, Nikolay Feodoroff '16, and Merrick Sadler '16. In addition to advancing to the semifinal round, the SUNY Buffalo team also brought home the award for Second Best Respondent Brief and the Henry T. King Jr. Award, which is presented to the team that best embodies the spirit of the Niagara Cup Competition. Team member Merrick Sadler won the competition’s award for Fifth Best Advocate.

The School of Law’s 2015 Niagara Cup team was coached by Jonathan Dominik '13 of Feldman Kieffer, LLP. The Jessup Moot Court Board is responsible for the funding and management of SUNY Buffalo’s annual participation in this competition.