A three-member team from The Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law bested 17 rival teams to win the 2012 Mock Trial Competition, known as the Gourley Competition, sponsored by the Academy of Trial Lawyers of Allegheny County, PA.
A first-year member of the CUA Law team, James Uthmeier, also was recognized as Best Overall Advocate, for which he received a $500.00 prize.
The two-day competition offered rounds and semi-final rounds on Feb. 16, and the final rounds were concluded on Feb. 17, with Catholic University's team winning in a head-to-head round against a team from Georgetown Law Center.
The CUA Law team included 3L James Germano, 3L Jennifer Harrison, and 1L James Uthmeier.
“They were very professional and impressive,” said trial teams coach Professor Lou Barracato. “There were a lot of comments about their command of the courtroom and professional performance.”
Held in Pittsburgh, the Gourley Competition has become one of the most prestigious advocacy competitions because of two unique features. One is the involvement of the Federal District Court Judges of the Western District of Pennsylvania, who host the competition in their individual courtrooms. The other is with the cooperation of the Allegheny County Medical Society.
Each competing team is paired with a physician who participates as that team’s expert witness. Every team competing is afforded the unique opportunity to direct and cross-examine actual medical experts as part of the experience.
The Hon. Gary Lancaster, chief judge of the Western District of Pennsylvania, heard the case argued in his courtroom. Competing teams retried the facts of a real case, with some information redacted. Four attorney academy members of Allegheny County served as judges in the competition.
An inscribed plaque will be sent to the law school to commemorate the team’s victory. For now, said Professor Barracato, “I just want to take them out to celebrate.”