Trial Team Gets Off to Strong Start in 2019-20

20191007 Trial Team Gets Off to Strong Start
From left: Corey Wilson, Mikayla Wasiri, Neil Thakor, Rahul Hari, Delaney Gold-Diamond  and Avery Hitchcock.

UCLA School of Law's A. Barry Cappello Trial Team started its 2019-20 season with a bang, sending teams to two tournaments in early October. At one tournament, the team walked away with the first-place trophy. At the other, UCLA Law won the Professionalism Award.

UCLA Law took first place for the second consecutive year at the National Civil Rights Trial Competition, held in Sacramento and hosted by UC Davis School of Law. The case involved a Second Amendment lawsuit filed by a teacher who was denied a gun permit after being threatened by high school students.  Several of the nation's top trial programs -- including UC Berkeley, UC Hastings, Faulkner University, Fordham University and Golden Gate University – competed.

The UCLA Law team, comprised of Delaney Gold-Diamond '21, Avery Hitchcock '21, Mikayla Wasiri '20 and Corey Wilson '20, finished undefeated. Wasiri won the award for best cross-examination. Neil Thakor of Greenspoon Marder, Rahul Hari of Wilkinson Walsh & Eskovitz and Justin Bernstein, director of the UCLA Law Trial Advocacy Program, coached the team.

UCLA Law also competed at the Summit Cup, hosted by Denver University School of Law. The prestigious tournament only invites teams that won a competition the previous year. The case being litigated was based on the murder trial of Michael Peterson, made famous by the documentary series "The Staircase."

UCLA Law finished with a winning record and received the Professionalism Award, given by judges and jurors to the team that best balances zealous advocacy with ethics and collegiality. The Summit team, coached by Bernstein, included Blake Berich '21. Brittnee Bui '20, Chris Damitio '21 and Jay Friedel '21.

"This is a great way to start our season," said Bernstein. "I'm proud of the tournament victory and equally proud that we were recognized for ethical advocacy."