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Pepperdine Takes First and Second at AAJ Student Trial Advocacy Competition Regional

Both teams from Pepperdine University School of Law reached the finals at the west regional of the American Association for Justice (AAJ) Student Trial Advocacy Competition in Santa Monica, California, March 3-6.

The team of Lauren Castles, Alyssa Ayotte, Mane Sardaryan, and Chalak Richards were the champions. The team of Kimberly McCall, Kelsey Stapler, Benjamin Adams, and Brittany Lane were the second place team. Pepperdine defeated more than 16 teams from schools such as USD, Cal-Western, and Chapman in the semifinals. 

Richards won a "Most Civil" award, Castles won an "Outstanding Witness" award, and Adams was given an "Outstanding Attorney" award. "I believe the fact that the final round came down to Pepperdine vs. Pepperdine reflects what made our success possible," says Castles. "We are coached by, and prepare with, the finest legal minds."

"It is simply astounding to place both teams in the finals in a regional competition that is as competitive as ours,” says Vice Dean Tim Perrin. “We are thankful for our dedicated trial team coaches--Harry Caldwell and Naomi Goodno--and for our talented student advocates who worked so diligently for this success."

Mane Sardaryan looks forward to nationals, which will be held in Las Vegas, Nevada in a few weeks. “Some people might say that winning trial team competitions is all about thinking on your feet and being a confident public speaker,” she says. “While I think that those things are important in order to be good, I truly believe that preparation is the key to being great. The reason why we dominated this weekend was a result of the hard work and dedication of all the people involved. From the best trial team coaches to my fellow talented trial team members to the gracious guest judges who were willing to volunteer their extra time to help us practice, we all put in the time, and it definitely showed this past weekend.”

Since 1972, Pepperdine's School of Law has had a developed advocacy program competing at the highest levels. This important, time honored law school tradition, allows students to hone advocacy and public speaking skills while participating in realistic appellate, trial, and dispute resolution proceedings.

Visit Pepperdine's Advocacy Programs.