UCLA Law is Runner-Up at National Ethics Trial Competition

March 21, 2019
Ian Jong ’19, Mikayla Wasiri ’20, Justin Bernstein, Deeksha Kohli '20 and Connor Trafton '19.
From left: Ian Jong ’19, Mikayla Wasiri ’20, Justin Bernstein, Deeksha Kohli '20 and Connor Trafton '19.

The UCLA Trial Team finished second in the National Ethics Trial Competition, which evaluates students on their ability to advocate on behalf of their clients while maintaining the highest standards of ethical conduct.

The competition is hosted by the McGeorge School of Law, and is among the most prestigious in the law school trial advocacy circuit. At the 2019 event, held March 15 through March 17 in the Robert Matsui U.S. Courthouse in Sacramento, the UCLA Law team – participating for the first time – faced law school teams from Drexel University, UC Davis, Fordham University, University of Missouri, Mercer University and the University of Denver.

The UCLA Law team comprised Ian Jong '19, Deeksha Kohli '20, Connor Trafton '19 and Mikayla Wasiri '20. Kohli was named Outstanding Advocate after receiving perfect ranks from every judge in the playoff rounds. The team was coached by Justin Bernstein, director of the A. Barry Cappello Program in Trial Advocacy.

The competition focuses on ethics in two ways. First, the case presented focuses on legal ethics. This year's case involved a lawyer who allegedly divulged her client's confidential information in a newspaper column, which led to the client's arrest and conviction for murder. Second, students are scored on their ethics and professionalism during trial, in addition to being scored on traditional categories such as cross-examination and closing argument.

This season, UCLA Law has attended six competitions and made the playoff rounds in all of them. UCLA Law has three first-place finishes, two second-place finishes and one finish in the tournament semifinals.

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