UCLA School of Law's Cappello Trial Team finished 2019 with two more outstanding results in November, reaching the finals in nine of its last 13 competitions.
UCLA took second place at the National Civil Trial Competition, hosted by Loyola Law School and held November 14 through November 16. The tournament is limited to 16 law schools with a history of excellence in trial advocacy, and 2019 was the first year that UCLA Law was invited. UCLA faced American University Washington College of Law, South Texas College of Law, University of Akron School of Law, Georgetown University Law Center, St. Mary's School of Law, and Campbell University School of Law.
The tournament centered on a case involving a former prison inmate suing a prison for failure to provide protection from harm. Blake Berich '21 and Delaney Gold-Diamond '21 represented the plaintiff, while Brittnee Bui '20 and Jay Friedel '21 represent the defense. Each UCLA Law student was ranked as the top advocate by multiple judges in the competition. The team was coached by Elizabeth Smiley of Baron & Budd; JD Rees '14 of Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton; and Justin Bernstein, director of UCLA Law's trial advocacy program.
From left: Blake Berich '21, Delaney Gold-Diamond ’21, Jay Friedel ’21, Justin Bernstein, Brittnee Bui ’20, JD Rees ’14 and Elizabeth Smiley.
A week later, UCLA attended the American Bar Association's Labor and Employment regional trial tournament and made it to the final round, qualifying for the national tournament for the second consecutive year. The team will travel to New Orleans for nationals in January.
Mikayla Wasiri '20, Nick Dyess '21, Chandler Matz '21 and Jack Eyers '21 represented the plaintiff, a former employee suing for whistleblower retaliation and wrongful termination. Haley Silvano '20, Tiffany Sarchet '21, Deeksha Kohli '20 and Chris Damitio '21 represented the defendant, a software company. The students were coached by recent alums Connor Trafton '19, an associate at Keesal, Young & Logan; Kyle DeCamp '19, an associate at Norton Rose Fulbright; and Bernstein.