The Temple National Trial Team finished as semi-finalists at the National Civil Trial Competition (NCTC), an invitational tournament held annually at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles. This is the team’s third consecutive semi-finalist finish in the prestigious competition.

Representing Temple Law School were 2L Tatiana Cook, 3L Nicholas Guth, 3L Eric Love, and 3L Dominique Montoya, who also earned individual honors for “best direct examination” from among all competitors in the initial 4 rounds. The team was coached by Director of Advocacy Programs Jules Epstein and Marissa Bluestine LAW ’95.

Noting the caliber of the NCTC field, Love credited the team’s “exceptional coaches and unmatched team chemistry” with their overall success. Montoya agreed, remarking that “our coaches really do share in this accomplishment – it’s like they were up there arguing with us.” She also expressed pride in her teammates, praising them for “all of the hard work we’ve put into our cases. We tried each case with as much passion and professionalism as if we were truly representing these clients. We put our best foot forward, continually improving in each round, which ultimately lead to our success.”

“This team’s success was Temple-made,” Epstein agreed. “It grew out of days, nights, and weekends of preparation, hard work, intense concentration, poise, and professionalism.”

Guth’s analysis of the experience provided some pragmatic perspective. “Trial Team at Temple Law is all about effective, ethical, and practical (not theoretical) trial advocacy. That’s why NCTC is such a great tournament. Its field is competitive, which makes us better at collegiality and effective practice. And the case problem presents interesting legal and factual issues, which gives us opportunities to demonstrate our practical abilities presenting a case (turning complex ideas into simple, persuasive chunks),” he said.

For Cook, the only 2L on the team, the competition was a turning point in her advocacy education. “As a mock trial ‘newbie’ I had no idea what to expect from my first competition,” she said. “Thankfully, I had amazing teammates and coaches who not only helped hone my skills but made this experience so rewarding and enjoyable. Participating in Trial Team, and specifically the NCTC tournament, highlighted how important advocacy skills are for our clients. After this competition, it’s safe to say we came home not only as semi-finalists but also as more powerful advocates.”

Coaches and competitors, from left to right, above: Director of Advocacy Programs Jules Epstein, 3L Eric Love, 3L Dominique Montoya, 2L Tatiana Cook, 3L Nicholas Guth, Marissa Bluestine LAW ’95.