By Jonathan A. Valmeo, J.D. Candidate, 2018
TJSL Trial Team members Sofia Flores and Tyler Barclay were the victors besting the trial team of the University of San Diego School of Law in the final round of the Region 14 Texas Young Lawyers Association National Trial (TYLA) Competition. TJSL sent two teams to the TYLA's Region 14 Tournament and they did not disappoint. Led by team members Bethany Nduka (2L), Jordan Robertson (3L), Tyler Barclay (2L), and Sofia Flores (2L), both teams reached the Semifinals. Barclay and Flores advanced to the final round beating the University of San Diego after a close, hard-fought win against Loyola Marymount University..
TYLA Semi-finalists Bethany Nduka and Jordan Robertson were on fire through their four rounds. They swept LaVerne School of Law Team 1 on Thursday night and then swept LaVerne’s second team on Friday night. They then advanced to the QuarterFinals on Saturday morning where they faced one of USD’s teams. Trying the plaintiff’s side of the case, they beat USD to advance to the Semi-Finals. Because of the rankings, Nduka and Robertson met the opposite side of the USD team in the Semi-Final round. Though Nduka and Robertson turned in a solid performance, the USD team advanced.
Barclay and Flores’ path was similar. Their first round was against the University of Southern California. Barclay and Flores swept USC, taking all three ballots. They then lost a close second round to California Western School of Law on Friday night, but earned enough points to advance to the quarterfinals on Saturday morning where they swept Chapman. They then hit Loyola Marymount University in the semi-finals round. The judges all commented that the round was more like a final round and that the winning team prevailed by one point. That winning team was Barclay and Flores and they moved on to the actual final round on Sunday morning.
“From a small seed a mighty trunk may grow.” -Aeschylus
There was little surprise that TJSL’s four TYLA competitors would do well. Robertson, Nduka, and Barclay were part of the two teams that dominated the 2017 San Diego Defense Lawyers (SDDL) Competition, held during the Fall semester. TJSL was the only school to have both of their teams advance to the final four and Robertson, Nduka, and Barclay’s team, rounded out by second year Laura Palacios, advanced to the final round against the University of North Carolina. The UNC team ultimately prevailed, but only by one ballot. The other TJSL team to advance to the semi-finals at SDDL was composed of veterans Jonathan Valmeo and Jonathan Ford, as well as first-time competitors Marissa Jimenez and Katie Sarpy.