Loyola Law School, Los Angeles triumphed over Georgetown University Law Center as the winner of the 26th Annual National Board of Trial Advocacy’s Tournament of Champions, held late last month in St. Louis. The California-based institution topped 15 other elite trial teams to win the annual competition.

Hosted this year by Washington University Law School, the tournament is one of the premier law school trial competitions in the nation. Each year, 16 schools are invited, based on a three-year performance record at the National Trial Competition and the AAJ National Student Trial Advocacy Competition, and performances at prior Tournament of Champions’ competitions.

At this year’s event, each four-person team presented the prosecution and defense sides twice over four preliminary rounds to a panel of three evaluators.

In the final round, held at Anheuser-Busch Hall at Washington University Law, Loyola Law School, Los Angeles was crowned the winner by a nine-person evaluator jury pool, led by David Rapoport, presiding judge and president of NBTA. He is also the founding and managing partner of Rapoport Law in Chicago.

“Participating in the Tournament of Champions, sponsored by the National Board of Trial Advocacy, is an honor and an exciting challenge for our students,” said Sue Poehis, coach of Loyola Law School, Los Angeles. “With 16 of the best trial advocacy teams in the nation competing, every round presents new and interesting theories and strategies that force the students to thoughtfully analyze the facts and law in the case. We were thrilled to face such well-prepared teams and honored to be named champions of such a prestigious tournament.” 

The members of the Loyola Law School, Los Angeles team included:

  • James Caress (Salinas, Calif.), graduate of University of California at Los Angeles

  • Carder Chan (Hacienda Heights, Calif.), graduate of University of California at Riverside

  • Christi Valone (San Marino, Calif.), graduate of University of Southern California. Valone was also chosen as “Best Advocate” for the final round.

  • Maya Zagayer (Woodland Hills, Calif.), graduate of University of Southern California at Santa Barbara   

Competing schools included: Baylor Law School (Texas), Campbell University School of Law (North Carolina), Chicago-Kent College of Law (Illinois), Georgetown University Law Center (Washington, D.C.), Loyola-Chicago University School of Law (Illinois), Samford University, Cumberland School of Law (Alabama), Stetson University College of Law (Florida), Suffolk University Law School (Massachusetts), Syracuse University College of Law (New York), Temple University Law School (Pennsylvania), The University of Akron School of Law (Ohio), University of Colorado Law School (Colorado), University of Notre Dame Law School (Indiana), Washington University School of Law (Missouri) and Yale Law School (Connecticut).

The National Board of Trial Advocacy’s Tournament of Champions is held annually. In fall 2016, it will be hosted by the University of California at Berkeley Law School.