group of women smiling.

2023 Competition organizers (left to right): Jane A. Kent '24; Elizabeth M. Vinal '22; Dawn Skopinski, Associate Director of the Advocacy Institute; Associate Director for Experiential Learning; Jennifer R. Scharf '05, Associate Dean for Career Services; Director of Trial Advocacy, Morgann K. Obrochta '20

Buffalo Niagara Trial Competition

This competition is one of the biggest national invitationals in the country, with more than 30 teams competing each year.

2023 Results

  • First Place Team: St. John's University School of Law
  • Second Place Team: University of Missouri–Kansas City School of Law
  • Best Advocate Award: Jonathan Carelli (St. John's University School of Law)  

The following awards were given after the preliminary rounds:

  • Best Opening (Tie): Hannah Sowell (Stetson University College of Law); Olivia Bess-Rhodes (University of Missouri–Kansas City School of Law); Luke Bradt (University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School)
  • Best Direct Examination: Allison Schmidt (Hofstra University Maurice A. Deane School of Law)
  • Best Cross Examination: Emmanuel Centeno (Chicago-Kent College of Law)
  • Best Closing Argument (Tie): Jamie Santana (University of Illinois Chicago School of Law) & Jacob Eisenhauer (University of Missouri–Kansas City School of Law)
  • Hon. Thomas P. Franczyk Best Overall Advocate: Kris Chaney (University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law)

About the Annual Competition

Since 2004, teams from more than 30 law schools across the country travel to Buffalo to compete in this prestigious annual competition. Law students try both sides of a homicide case before experienced judges and trial attorneys who volunteer as judges and evaluators.

After the preliminary rounds, the top 8 teams advance to the final rounds. Awards are presented at a banquet and include honors for Best Opening, Best Direct, Best Cross, Best Closing and Best Advocate.