Published November 1, 2018
A School of Law trial team showed their stellar advocacy skills taking first place at the Queens District Attorney’s Annual Mock Trial Competition.
The 5th annual competition held on October 27 and 28, 2019, in Kew Gardens, New York, brought 16 teams from across the country together to compete in this two-day event.
UB School of Law’s winning team consisted of Sarah A. Elardo ’19, William F. Fitzgerald ’19, Salvatore M. Prince ’19 and Spencer R. Stresing ’19. Elardo also won the Best Overall Advocate award.
“I’m truly honored and humbled to have been part of this experience,” says Elardo. “I was lucky enough to be a part of an amazing team, led by outstanding coaches. We put in a lot of hard work as we prepared for the competition, and to see it pay off with the recognition we received was an indescribable feeling.”
UB School of Law defeated Rutgers Law School in the semifinals, and then went on to triumph over Fordham University School of Law in the final round. This is the second time UB School of Law has secured first place in the Queens County competition.
This year’s team was coached by University at Buffalo School of Law alumni Brian M. Melber ’96, of Personius Melber LLP, in Buffalo, N.Y.; Farina Mendelson ’17, of Vahey, Muldoon, Reston Getz LLP, in Rochester, N.Y.; and Cathleen M. Roemer ’13 and Rebecca L. Schnirel ’14 of the Erie County District Attorney’s Office in Buffalo, N.Y.
“These students put in countless hours in and out of practice,” says Trial Team Coach Brian Melber. “They benefitted from very talented coaching by Cathleen Roemer, Rebecca Schnirel and Farina Mendelson. Several assistant district attorneys and defense lawyers also generously volunteered to try the case against them or to judge their practice trials. During and between each round of the competition, they continued to hone and improve their cases. These four students represented our school with excellence and professionalism.”
Sponsored by the Queens County District Attorney’s Office, the competitors tried a complex criminal law case under New York State law. The mock trials were presided over by 19 sitting judges from Queens, Bronx and Suffolk Counties. Hon. Joseph A. Zayas, Administrative Judge of the Supreme Court, Queens County Criminal Term, presided over the final round.
"The real life trial experience is invaluable for new lawyers, and also helps them with finding jobs,” says Jennifer R. Scharf ’05, co-director of the law school’s trial advocacy program. “Our trial team students are among the most sought-after new hires. We have already received inquiries about these students from potential employers."