Winning team members with judges from the final round bench.
April 13, 2011
BROOKLYN, NY – For the second year in a row, a team of students from Georgia State University College of Law took first place in the Dean Jerome Prince Memorial Moot Court Competition. The team of third-year law students Casey Viggiano, Eli Bennett and Chris DeNeve, coached by Crystal Genteman, defeated a team from Southwestern Law School in the final round. In addition, Viggiano took Best Oralist honors in the final round.
Held March 31 - April 2, the premier evidence competition, hosted for the past 26 years by the Brooklyn Law School Moot Court Honor Society, is named in honor of the late Jerome Prince, renowned evidence scholar, teacher, and author of Prince on Evidence, who served as Dean of Brooklyn Law School from 1953-1971.
This year's competition involved 36 teams from across the country arguing an appellate brief that addressed evidentiary issues in a contemporary context. The bench for the final round included the Honorable Duane Benton, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit; the Honorable Joette Katz (Ret.), Justice of the Connecticut Supreme Court; and Honorable Thomas I. Vanaskie, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.
The victory was the end result of hours and weeks of preparation by the team, which held three practice rounds every week and spent a month researching and writing its brief. Time spent working on the brief was as important as the argument itself, Viggiano explained, because “in the Prince Competition your brief score counts in every round, as opposed to being oral scores only for elimination rounds.”
The team’s ability to work as a unit was also vital to its success.
“As team members, we did not focus exclusively on our own area but were there to support each other on the other challenges that arose,” DeNeve said. “There was no weak link on this team.”
The team’s comfort with their arguments and each other was an asset during the competition. For Bennett the hardest part of the competition was “fear of the unknown.”
“Every judge is different and you have to adapt quickly if you sense they aren’t buying your argument,” he said. “Our arguments actually changed and became stronger after each round based on the judges’ reactions.”
The team had strong praise for the competition and its organizers.
“Brooklyn Law School puts on one heck of a competition,” Viggiano said. “All of the organizers were personable, friendly and helpful. I can't say enough great things about how the Prince Competition is run, from the depth of the problem to the quality of the benches.”
Professors Paul Milich, Jessica Gabel and Andi Curcio supported the team by taking time to bench the team's practice rounds in the weeks leading up to the competition.
By Abby Ferrell
Director of Communications