Though it's still January (barely), spring arrives early at Arizona Law.
The spring semester is an incredibly busy and rewarding time at the college. For many of our students it's competition season. We share updates from two student skills competitions -- and recognize our many volunteer coaches and judges! --  below.

We also share news of our recent trip to Mexico City in conjunction with the college's Foreign Diplomat Training Program.

Until the footnotes,


Strengthening Our Mexico City Partnerships

Our University of Arizona Law delegation just completed a week of travel to Mexico City, visiting with our educational and institutional partners, and crossing paths with outstanding area alumni, friends, and colleagues.

In this visit we strengthened the college's continued relationship with the Mexican Foreign Ministry (SRE) and our Foreign Diplomat Training Program


We met with colleagues at SRE's North America office. In attendance were (above, l-r) Martha Llanos, SRE North America Office; Professor
Kathie Barnes, Arizona Law Associate Dean for Programs and Innovation; Chris Gast, Arizona Law Director of the Foreign Diplomat Training Program; Mauricio Ibarra, SRE Director General for North America; Lydia Antonio, SRE North America Office and UA Diplomat Program alumna; and Jose Lever, UA Assistant Vice-President for Mexico Affairs.


We were fortunate to meet with many alumni and friends of the University of Arizona. Special thanks go to Sergio Autrey, who hosted us at Club de Industriales (he is standing in the center between me and Professor Sergio Puig, above). 

Sebastian Galván Duque (l), a former staff member at the Tucson Consulate and future foreign service officer studying at the Mexican Diplomatic Academy, with Chris Gast (r).

Lorena Macias Navarro, a friend of the UA in Mexico City; 
Amanda Wolfe, Arizona Law Director of Global Programs; 
and Megan O'Leary, Arizona Law Director of Development (l-r).

It was a wonderful week and we look forward to having a continued presence in Mexico City.

Around the College

Grand Legal Writing Competition Results
Judge Lisa Abrams ('93), Mika Galilee-Belfer (2L), Claire Maguire (1L), 
Judge Christopher Staring, Judge Kellie Johnson ('96), 
Jessica Ditmore (3L), and Joe Austin (SJD) (l-r).

The College of Law's 18th Richard Grand Legal Writing Competition winners were announced Monday afternoon at a reception at the college:
  • Mika Galilee-Belfer (2L) and Claire Maguire (1L) tied for first place (in what is the first tie for first in the Grand competition since 2010)
  • Joe Austin (SJD), third place
  • Jessica Ditmore (3L), honorable mention

Mika, Claire, Jessica, and Joe (l-r).

The 23 entrants in the competition this year wrote on the topic of what it means to live generously. Professor Tessa Dysart, Assistant Director of Legal Writing, says that this year's topic was inspired by hearing Marcia Grand speak last year about the importance of giving during the dedication of the college's Richard Grand Staircase.
The four finalists were selected by Professor Susie Salmon, Director of Legal Writing, and Professor Dysart. The winners were then selected by a panel of distinguished judges: Judge Lisa Abrams ('93), Pima County Superior Court; Tim Eigo, Editor, Arizona Attorney Magazine; Judge Kellie Johnson ('96), Pima County Superior Court; Justice John Pelander ('76), Arizona Supreme Court; and Judge Christopher Staring, Arizona Court of Appeals Division II. 
We are most grateful to Marcia Grand for continuing to inspire and fund the Richard Grand Legal Writing Competition in honor of her late husband Richard Grand ('58).

Congratulations, Mika, Claire, Joe, and Jessica!

Hosting National Trial Competition a True Team Effort

The National Trial Competition Region 14 tournament was hosted this year by the University of Arizona College of Law and was held January 25-27, 2019, at the Pima County Superior Court. This regional featured 24 teams from 12 schools from Arizona, northern California, New Mexico, Nevada, and Hawaii. The annual competition is sponsored by the American College of Trial Lawyers and the Texas Young Lawyer's Association.
The UA fielded two Barry Davis Mock Trial Teams at the competition. One team consisted of Will Vitkus (3L), Sasha Charls (3L), and Brianna Braun (2L). The second team included Amy Brown (2L), Karen Donderewicz (2L), and Jesus Alonso (3L). 

Teammates Will Vitkus (3L), Brianna Braun (2L), and Sasha Charls (3L) (l-r).

Two teams from the University of California at Berkeley won the overall competition and are headed to nationals. Professor Barbara Bergman reports that while the UA teams did not advance this time, they made us proud through the hard work and talent they demonstrated. Each of the UA teams finished with impressive wins and narrowly missed the cut to advance to the semi-final round. Many thanks go to their coaches Brian Chase ('11) and Travis McGivern. These team members and coaches put in countless hours honing the teams' advocacy skills.

Teammates Karen Donderewicz (2L), Amy Brown (2L), 
and Jesus Alonso (3L) (l-r). 

Because there was an odd number of teams entered in the competition, the UA College of Law had to form a "foil" team to make for an even number of teams and avoid the need to require teams to draw "byes" in the preliminary rounds. Kristian Garibay (3L) and Maura Hilser (2L) accepted this challenge with only a week and a half to prepare. They went on to win the first-ever Thomas Mauet Professionalism Award, selected through a vote of their peers and the judges.

Kristian Garibay (3L), Professor Tom Mauet, and Maura Hilser (2L) (l-r).

The logistics of hosting a regional competition are daunting. Ted Schmidt ('77) and Peter Akmajian ('84) recruited over 70 judges and attorneys to score the rounds. Professor Bergman and assistant Debbie Martin recruited and coordinated 60 witnesses and bailiffs for each of the three preliminary rounds as well as witnesses and bailiffs for the semi-final and final rounds. All of these participants donated their time to make the event a success. Many thanks also go to Assistant Dean Nancy Stanley for her work making the weekend run smoothly.
Brian Chase and a team of mock trial alums made sure that all the judges, witnesses, and bailiffs were prepared and made it to the right courtrooms as well as coordinated all the scoring for the competition. Those alums were Elizabeth Smiley ('17), Matt Ashton ('18), Mario Gonzalez ('17), Ben Griem ('11), Jon Leitenberger ('17), and Michael Harnden ('11). They were indispensable to the success of the competition.
Finally, the Pima County Superior Court under the leadership of Presiding Judge Kyle Bryson and Judge Deborah Bernini ('81) provided three floors of courtrooms, jury rooms, audio-visual equipment, and security to make the event possible.

In the News
C-SPAN "Washington Journal," interview with professor Andrew Coan
Fox Business, quoting professor Toni Massaro

Facebook's plan to merge its messaging services ignites further antitrust concerns
CNBC, quoting professor Barak Orbach
Lack of Arizona drought plan would mean chaos and uncertainty, water experts say
Arizona Daily Star, quoting professor Robert Glennon
Newsweek, interview with professor Andrew Coan
Arizona Daily Wildcat, interview with professor Andrew Coan

AZPM "The Buzz," quoting professor Robert Glennon

Arizona Law is the team to be on. 

Our deepest thanks go to our many friends, alumni, and partners in our second home in Mexico City and in our full-time home in Tucson.





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