Northwestern Pritzker Law Teams Take Home Victories


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Two teams from Northwestern Pritzker School of Law won the regional competition for the National Trial Competition and the Monroe E Price Media Law Moot Court Competition, respectively. Both have advanced to the national and international rounds later this year.

National Trial Competition

From left: Zakiyah Dillard (JD ’23), Richard Levin, Madisen Hursey (JD ’24), George Avdellas (JD ’23), Anjanique Barber (JD ’24), Catie Demaret (JD ’23), Chloe Smeltzer (JD ’23), Professor Joshua Jones

A team from Northwestern Pritzker School of Law won the regional competition for the National Trial Competition in mid-February. The Law School hosted the annual competition, which is organized by the Texas Young Lawyers Association. George Avdellas (JD ’23), Anjanique Barber (JD ‘24) and Madisen Hursey (JD ’24) competed in five trials and defeated Chicago-Kent College of Law by a unanimous 5-0 decision in the final round to catapult them to victory.

The team is coached by Richard Levin of the Levin Riback Law Group and Joshua Jones, the director of the Bartlit Center for Trial Advocacy and clinical assistant professor of law. Jones planned and coordinated the competition of 10 law schools and 20 teams from around the Midwest including Chicago-Kent, DePaul, Loyola, UIC John Marshall, and University of Illinois, among others. More than 120 lawyers from the Chicago area, including numerous Northwestern Pritzker Law alumni, volunteered their time and judged the student advocates. Many Law School students also acted as witnesses and bailiffs.

Another Northwestern Pritzker Law team led by Catie Demaret (JD ’23), Zakiyah Dillard (JD ’23) and Chloe Smeltzer (JD ‘23) finished in the top eight. They lost by one point in the semi-finals.

Northwestern has advanced to the National Competition nine times in the past 14 years and has won the National Championship two times in the past 10 years. The team will now move on to the National Competition in San Antonio, Texas, the last weekend in March.

Update April 17, 2023: This last weekend the team of Chloe Smeltzer (JD ’23), Jasmine Guerrier (JD ’24), Ari Addo-Yobo (JD ’24), and Sebastian Avella (JD ’24) were crowned champions of the George Washington Estrella Trial Advocacy Competition held in Puerto Rico. They went undefeated, winning against Stetson in the final.

Price Media Law Moot Court Competition

From left: Oren Depp (JD ’23), Kate Richerson (JD ’24), Samantha Hom (JD ’24), Samantha Reilly (JD ’23), Anise McKinney (JD ’24), Rachel Kipp (JD ’24) and Daniel Caballero (LLM-IHR ‘23)

A Northwestern Pritzker Law team won all three of its preliminary rounds and competed as a semi-finalist in the 2022-23 Monroe E Price Media Law Moot Court Competition in New York City in February. Samantha Reilly (JD ’23), Oren Depp (JD ’23), Samantha Hom (JD ’24), Anise McKinney (JD ‘24), and researchers Kate Richerson (JD ’24) and Rachel Kipp (JD ‘24) now advance to the international rounds in mid-April.

The competition is organized by the University of Oxford’s Bonavero Institute of Human Rights, which tackles cutting-edge legal questions regarding freedom of expression globally. This year’s case delved into regulation of online platforms, the use of artificial intelligence for content moderation, academic freedom, privacy rights, and freedom of speech.

In the international competition, the team will compete against 25-30 other teams from around the world.

The lead faculty advisor for the team is Doreen Weisenhaus, senior lecturer, who also has a joint appointment at the Medill School of Journalism, Media, and Integrated Marketing, where she is director of the Media Law and Policy Initiative. The team was led by student coach Daniel Caballero (LLM-IHR ‘23). A former moot court champion, and a lawyer who worked with the Constitutional Court of Ecuador before coming to Northwestern Pritzker Law, Cabellero was able to give hands-on assistance to everyone on the team.

In addition to Caballero, the team benefited from collaborative efforts within the Law School, with special support given by Rhea Banks, Bluhm Legal Clinic interim director; Bridget Arimond, co-faculty advisor, clinical professor of law, and director of the LLM Program for International Human Rights; and many others.

Since 2019, Northwestern has advanced to the International Rounds three times in the four years it has competed and won first place in the Americas Regional Rounds last year, as well as runner up for best written memorial.

The team is again grateful for the support of the Northwestern law community, including Professors Jim Speta, Matt Kugler, Andy Koppelman, Bridget Arimond, Tom Geraghty, who helped prep the team in practice oral sessions leading up to the International Rounds.

Update April 25, 2023: In the International Rounds of the Price Media Law Moot Court competition, Northwestern again won all three of its preliminary rounds. They placed 6th overall. Three of the oralists were ranked as among the top 10 oralists. This is the best showing Northwestern Pritzker Law has had in the three times teams have advanced to the International Rounds.