The University of Illinois College of Law’s Trial Team won the 15th National Ethics Trial Competition (NETC) on March 26, 2023. The competition, which took place March 24-26, was hosted by the McGeorge School of Law at the Robert Matsui U.S. Courthouse in Sacramento. It is among the most prestigious competitions in the law school trial advocacy circuit, and was attended by many of the nation’s premier trial competition programs.
The University of Illinois team was comprised of second-year students Allison Heil ’24, Madelyn Foster ’24, Eliza Powers ’24, and Mariana Renke ’24. In the Championship round, the team defeated UCLA and Allison Heil was named “Best Advocate.” The Illinois team was coached by College of Law alumni, Josh Lawson and Dan Lewis, and was supported by the Kimball R. and Karen Gatsis Anderson Center for Advocacy and Professionalism.
En route to its Championship, the Illinois team defeated some of the nation’s most accomplished trial competition programs including UCLA, UC Berkeley, Stetson, and University of California College of the Law, San Francisco (formerly Hastings). According to Tony Ghiotto, Director of the Anderson Center, the team “overcame an unforgiving draw” having to win trials against “all of the other semifinalist teams to prevail.”
The NETC was established in 2006 to promote ethical awareness through a trial competition format. It features both ethical components in the issues to be tried and ethical components in the scoring of the trial based on the participants' observation of ethical and civility principles. In this year’s competition, the students tried a case involving legal malpractice and an attorney’s alleged failure to communicate a settlement offer to her client. As the Anderson Center distinguishes itself from other advocacy programs by emphasizing professional responsibility and ethics in its advocacy training, “it is particularly satisfying to win the premier advocacy competition that speaks to our core mission” says Professor Ghiotto.
Congratulations to the team!