January 24, 2023
The St. Mary’s University School of Law National Trial Team became national champions Jan. 22 by beating some of the toughest advocacy teams in the nation at the National Trial League Competition.
This is the second consecutive win at this national competition for the Trial Team, which is also ranked 11th by the American Bar Association. Trial advocacy competition simulates litigation skills in a courtroom setting.
This year’s finals took place in Syracuse, New York, and were held in person. The finals in 2022 were held virtually.
Third-year J.D. students Daniela Jiménez and Maria Jaimes, along with second-year J.D. students Shanell Henry and Catherine Land represented the law school in the final round.
Other members of the Trial Team include third-year J.D. students Vanessa Skillman, Christian Ramon, Abby Efron, Vanessa Herrera, Caitlin Hennessy, Savina Tapia and Genesis Salinas; along with second-year J.D. students Bianca Hernandez, Jenna Croymans, Meagan Folmar and Griffin Farney.
In addition to becoming national champions, Jiménez, mother of a 6-week-old, was also named the tournament’s best advocate.
“This competition is like running a marathon: You need a lot of stamina and dedication. But after a long and busy semester, we made it to Syracuse,” Jaimes said. “After long days of preparation, we fought hard and made it to the finals and came out victorious. I can say that, just like last year, we won because of the time and dedication of our team and coaches.”
St. Mary’s Law was one of 12 teams in the competition, which started Aug. 30, 2022, and continued through Nov. 8, 2022. With each team competing in seven rounds with six different cases, the top four teams moved on to the playoffs. St. Mary’s Law defeated the University of Maryland School of Law in the final round.
Maria Jaimes, J.D. student
“After long days of preparation, we fought hard and made it to the finals and came out victorious. I can say that, just like last year, we won because of the time and dedication of our team and coaches.”
The Advocacy Program at St. Mary’s also includes the National Moot Court Team, the Dispute Resolution Team and the International Jessup Moot Court Team. The Moot Court Team was recently named the national champion at the November 2022 Chicago Bar Association Moot Court Competition.
“When I started on this team, I didn’t really know what went into the behind-the-scenes trial preparation,” Jiménez said. “This team has been the best part of my law school experience. We have coaches who are incredible attorneys who leave work and come to school after to turn us into the attorneys of the future.”