Trial Team Earns Second Place Finish in ABA National Championship

January 29, 2019
From left: Delaram Kamalpour, Mikayla Wasiri, Connor Trafton, Deeksha Kohli '20 and Andrew Tran.
From left: Delaram Kamalpour, Mikayla Wasiri, Connor Trafton, Deeksha Kohli '20 and Andrew Tran.

After winning the West Coast regional competition in November 2018, in January the UCLA Law Trial Team finished second in the country at the American Bar Association's Labor and Employment Law National Trial Competition.

The team included four advocates — Delaram Kamalpour '19, Deeksha Kohli '20, Connor Trafton '19 and Mikayla Wasiri '20 — and was coached by Andrew Tran from the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office and Justin Bernstein, director of UCLA Law's A. Barry Cappello Program in Trial Advocacy.

Under Bernstein's guidance for the first time this year, the team has won a one regional competition, one national competition and has now finished second in a national event.

The fact pattern in the national ABA competition involved a prison guard's claim of sexual harassment against the department of corrections after a co-worker started a sexual rumor about the guard. The students argued both sides of the case. Kamalpour and Trafton represented the plaintiff, while Kohli and Wasiri represented the defense.

"This case involved tough, sensitive issues," said Tran. "Our students were able to advocate zealously without offending any jurors. That's not easy to do."

The UCLA team made a strong impression on the judges, as one tried to hire Trafton. "That happens a lot at these competitions because the judges are able to see our comfort in the courtroom and our ability to argue," Trafton explained. Trafton thanked the judge and politely declined the offer; he has already accept a post-graduate position.

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