Temple Law emerged victorious at the Sixteenth Annual Capitol City Challenge held in late March 2024 at the American University Washington College of Law in Washington D.C.  

Placing a unique emphasis on the use of technology in the courtroom, competitors were given a criminal case file and tasked with drafting competition materials and presenting their arguments to highly accomplished practitioners and judges. 

The teams consisted of four currently enrolled law students from an accredited school, accompanied by a coach who is a licensed attorney. For Temple Law, team members included 3Ls Jay Menner, Phil Han and Kathleen DiPrinzio and 2L Lily Winter, and featured coaches Timmy Miller LAW ‘23, now a litigation associate for Blank Rome LLP, and Lewis Reagan LL.M. ‘22, who serves as an Assistant District Attorney in Delaware County.  

“We went against many fierce advocates from other top schools across the nation, and our team had to perform at their best in order to win,” Miller said. “By relying on the skills learned from Temple’s trial advocacy program and being challenged to apply those skills with mastery and finesse, our team showcased their trial advocacy prowess to win the competition.” 

Facing Fordham Law School, George Washington, Northwestern, Michigan, and South Texas, it was in the climactic final round that Temple Law outshone Campbell Law School to become the 2024 champions.  

“What set us apart was our teamwork,” said Phil Han, who was part of the team that finished as semi-finalists in last year’s competition. “During the prosecution team’s round, the defense team vigorously wrote notes for use during the prosecution’s closing argument or cross-examination, and vice-versa. We were always in the moment. We adapted to and took advantage of everything that occurred during the trial.” 

Professor Elizabeth Lippy, Director of Trial Advocacy at Temple Law, said Han’s opening statement “left the courtroom in awe.”

“Our success isn’t accidental, it’s meticulously crafted,” Professor Lippy said. “Our Trial Advocacy Program—a beacon of excellence—prepares students for the real-world legal arena. Coaches Timmy Miller and Lewis Reagan are the unsung heroes. They burn the midnight oil, sculpting legal warriors. Their dedication is our secret weapon.” 

Han said throughout the competition, the trial team members practiced a pre-round ritual that involved standing in a circle outside the courtroom and performing a mindfulness breathing exercise: Breathe in for five seconds, hold for five seconds, and exhale for ten seconds.  

“Through this exercise, we found our inner strength, calmed our nerves, and walked into the courtroom confidently as a single unit. The courtroom was our house,” Han said.  

Additionally, focusing heavily on preparation rather than memorizing words to a script emboldened the trial team to think quickly on their feet, adapting to the ongoing arguments.  

“Our intimate knowledge of the competition file and prepared material enabled us to freestyle or go off script whenever necessary, which was often the case,” Han said. “We listened intently to every word spoken by the witnesses and opposing counsel to loop back to them in our material—to use their own words against them.” 

Coach Miller said their goal was to grant the team members a “toolkit” that involved witness control tactics, objection preparation, and responding to the trial in real time. These tools, Miller said, focused on teaching how to exercise discretion, and instilling the knowledge of when and how to use those tools most effectively in the course of a trial.  

“We advised them on numerous scenarios, and even scrimmaged with the students in order to give them a simulation of what a real trial would look like,” Miller said. “In every practice, we would debrief with the students to go over what tactics were most effective to help them each learn their own style of trial advocacy.” 

In the closing argument of the final round, Jay Menner paced the courtroom equipped with a legal pad covered in sticky notes, the product of the team’s vigorous notetaking throughout the trial, which she used to deliver “blow after blow” to the prosecution’s case. 

“It was all off the cuff. And it was brilliant,” Han said. “That was the Temple way, and I could not be prouder of Jay and the rest of the team.” 

Pictured above from left to right: Jay Menner, Kathleen DiPrinzio, Timmy Miller, Lewis Reagan, Lily Winter and Phil Han