At the end of February, for the second consecutive year, Thomas Jefferson School of Law’s National Trial Team was a finalist at the National Trial Competition Regional Tournament for Region 15. Hosted by the American College of Trial Lawyers and the Texas Young Lawyers Association, the National Trial Competition attracts students from over 100 law schools who vie for regional and then national honors. TJSL's teams, coached by Deputy District Attorney Joshua Brisbane ('16), did a phenomenal job at the 2020 Region 15 Tournament. Sarah Sullivan (3L) and Osama Abasi (2L) went the full five rounds, making it to the championship round against UCLA. It was an incredibly close contest, ending in a split ballot and a two-point differential in favor of UCLA. Professor Justin Bernstein, UCLA's Director of Trial Advocacy, said: "We had the pleasure of facing Thomas Jefferson on both sides of the case. Their teams are always smart, dynamic, and professional, and this squad was no different. Ms. Sullivan delivered a knock-your-socks-off-opening statement. She was charming and cutthroat at the same time. And Mr. Abasi gave one of the most persuasive law school closing arguments I've seen. I kept thinking, 'I wish we thought of that.'"
TJSL's other team was made up of veteran Toyosi Adesoye (3L) as the "swing" with Patricia Fe Tagufa (2L) on the plaintiff's side and Natalie Karamian (2L) on the defense side. This squad also did a great job, competing through three rounds and holding their own against a very good Pepperdine team in the third round. Adjunct Professor Josh Brisbane had high praise for both squads: "All the advocates performed exceptionally well; they adapted to the competition and gained momentum with each round. The advocates put in countless hours of work and represented our school proudly." 2020 marks the eighth year in a row that TJSL has advanced at the TYLA regional. Two of those years TJSL won the tournament and three of those years found the National Trial Team in the final round. In the other three years TJSL made it to either the quarterfinals or the semi-finals. Thomas Jefferson's Epsten, Grinnell & Howell National Trial Team welcomes all alumni and community partners who are interested in advancing trial advocacy excellence at the school. If you would like to know more about how you can support the work of the TJSL National Trial Team, please email Professor Lilys McCoy at Lmccoy@tjsl.edu