Bartlit Center Team Wins Regional Trial Competition

February 23, 2016

A team from Northwestern Pritzker School of Law’s Bartlit Center for Trial Advocacy won the National Trial Competition’s recent Midwest regional championship.

Michael Maione (JD ’16) and Stacy Kapustina (JD ’17) came in first place and will compete in the national championship in Dallas, Texas at the end of next month. Maione was also named the competition’s Outstanding Advocate. Another Bartlit Center team, Douglas Bates (JD ’17) and Kelly Mennemeier (JD ’16), also reached the playoff rounds. The teams were coached by Richard Levin.

Steven Lubet, Williams Memorial Professor of Law and director of the Center, congratulated the students and their coach. 

“Rick Levin has done a tremendous job of teaching our students how to be effective and ethical trial lawyers,” Lubet said. “He emphasizes a deep understanding of the trial process itself, which equips our students to handle cases in real life, far beyond the competition.”

Levin praised his students for the hard work and dedication. 

“I am always amazed at the effort and energy the students devote to the trials,” Levin said. “Stacy was singled out by Justice McBride for her exceptional cross examination, and Mike’s closing argument was one of the best I’ve ever seen. They are awesome.”

“For six weeks every semester, we spend 20 hours every weekend holed up in a house in the suburbs bickering with one another about fake case files as though the fate of the world depended on the outcome of our discussions,” Maione said of the experience. “Being on trial team is, at times, exhausting, exasperating, and even humiliating. It is also completely worth it, not only for days like today when you win, but for the relationships that are—and can only be—forged by mutual trauma.”

This marks the seventh consecutive year a Bartlit Center team has reached the regional finals. Northwestern Law has the second most wins of any law school with four National Trial Championship four times, most recently in 2011.

Maione and Kapustina hope to make it five.

“Since we're going, we might as well win,” Kapustina said.