Pepperdine law students excelled at two recent trial team competitions spanning Nov. 13-16. At the seventh annual National Civil Trial Competition, hosted by Loyola Law School, Pepperdine students Josh Banister, Alexia Norge, Paula Pendley, and Jeremy Shatzer advanced through three preliminary rounds, defeated thirteen teams, and ended in the top four.
At the same time, two teams of Pepperdine students competed in the fifth annual ABA Labor and Employment Law Trial Competition, held in Los Angeles, California. Both teams advanced and competed against each other for the number one spot. Sterling Cluff, Andrew Reid, Ben Turner, and Sarhar Sarshad took second place, and Terrance Allen, Rachel Rossi, Jason Vener, and Sarah Wigdor were the champions.
Wigdor said, "Overall the experience was a blast." One of her favorite moments of the competition was a particular objection she made that was sustained. In the semifinals, Pepperdine went up against USD. USD's defense case centered on attacking the plaintiff. "While the plaintiff was being crossed, the San Diego team wanted her to step off the stand and show the jury where her tattoo on her lower back was located," recalls Wigdor. "I objected that it was degrading, since she could simply say where her tattoo was located. It got the point across and protected my witness. The judge agreed with me and the objection was sustained."
The Labor and Employment Law Section of the ABA established the LEL Trial Advocacy Competition to introduce law students to the challenges and rewards of employment and labor litigation. The competition offers students a forum in which to develop the skills they will use as practitioners.
As First Place Team, Allen, Rossi, Vener, and Wigdor will compete in the national final on Jan. 24-25, 2009 in Chicago, Illinois.