Trial Team Wins First Place in McGeorge, SIU, GGU Trial Challenge

Southern Illinois University



SIU Law trial team wins first place in McGeorge, SIU, GGU Trial Challenge

September 29, 2013


SIU School of Law's trial team won first place overall in the McGeorge, SIU, GGU Trial Challenge at the University of the Pacific's McGeorge School of Law this past weekend. 

The competition included teams from McGeorge, SIU, Golden Gate University School of Law, and a hybrid team in which student attorneys from SIU and GGU were paired with each other.

SIU's four-person team of Randi Burggraff (3L), Harrison Cohen (3L), Matthew Hess (3L) and Deanah McClendon (2L) won first place overall in the competition. They won both their trials (plaintiffs in the morning and defense in the afternoon). They were also awarded every single judge and juror ballot in both trials.

The competition case involved the wrongful death of an elderly woman who developed ulcerating sores while under the care of the defendant residential care facility.

The trials were scored by a combination of judges, attorney evaluators and lay jurors. Each trial included evidentiary motions, voir dire, and a full trial on the merits.

Two SIU team members also won individual awards at the competition. Daniel Feldman (3L), won Best Voir Dire for the entire competition. Randi Burggraff (3L) won the SIU Best Advocate award.

Associate Professor Chris Behan, who coached the team, said he is very proud of the students for their hard work, and he also appreciates those who helped the team prepare for the competition.

"We could not have achieved this success without our alumni and supporters. Judge Patrick Murphy of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois, Judge John Speroni of the Illinois First Judicial Circuit Court in Williamson County, Trish Murphy, Melissa Day, Tom Leggans and Tom Margolis all presided over practice rounds and helped coach the team. In addition, two of our California alumni came to support the competition as attorney evaluators: Donna Rovella and Katy Watson.