The Temple National Trial Team has brought home another national championship, taking top honors at the National Criminal Justice Trial Competition, co-sponsored by the American Bar Association and John Marshall Law School. Second-year law student Allison Christian, 3L Katelyn Hutchison, 3L Sarah Kiewlicz, and 2L James Mathew represented Temple against a field that also included teams from Drexel and Stetson.
“I am so proud of this team,” remarked Professor Jen Bretschneider, who coached the team together with Maureen McCartney, an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of PA. “They have been relentless in their focus, their preparation, and their support of one another. This win is a testament to their talent as advocates, but also to their commitment as teammates.”
By the end of that first trial, all I could think about was wanting to do it again. And, fortunately, I got that opportunity.
For Sarah Kiewlicz, that commitment meant pushing herself to become a better advocate. “I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to learn, not only from my coaches, but also from my teammates,” Kiewlicz said. “We pushed each other to reach new levels of advocacy and to tap into skills that we didn’t even know we had.” Allison Christian concurred. “Not only did this experience teach me about myself and my ability as a future trial lawyer, but it reinforced the importance of having people by my side who constantly push me to be at my best,” she remarked. “I couldn’t have asked for a better team or better coaches,” added James Mathew. “It really was an opportunity to show myself that Temple prepared me to not only compete, but to be a real advocate.” Their teammate, Katie Hutchison, credited the teamwork and friendship among the group for making the competition, “one of the most memorable experiences of law school.”
Also memorable for the team was the amount of fun they had, and the confidence that grew with each round of competition. “We loved what we were doing and I think that came across in our delivery and performances. Winning was just icing on the cake,” Hutchison said. “I came to Temple for the trial advocacy program and the trial team, and my expectations have been surpassed by leaps and bounds.” Christian chimed in: “Halfway through my first opening statement of the competition, I could feel my nerves dissipate. I was having so much fun! By the end of that first trial, all I could think about was wanting to do it again. And, fortunately, I got that opportunity.”
Held annually at the John Marshall Law School in Chicago, the NCJC regularly draws teams from across the country. This year’s competition pitted Temple against teams from 19 other schools. Temple has historically done well in the competition, making it to the semi-finals or better in five of the nine years Temple has participated.
Photo, from L to R: James Mathew, Katelyn Hutchison, Sarah Kiewlicz, Allison Christian