The NCAA has its March Madness and its BCS National Championship. Now, for the first time, the American Bar Association has tallied the results from its four practical skills competitions for law students – and it’s time to announce the first-ever ABA Competitions Champion.
A total of 1,300 students at 156 law schools participated in this year’s ABA competitions, sponsored by the Law Student Division – Arbitration, Negotiation, Client Counseling, and the National Appellate Advocacy Competition (or as we call that one, NAAC). We looked at how the law schools fared in all four, crunched the numbers, and determined which school did the best overall.
And the winner and the inaugural ABA Competitions Champion is … Stetson University College of Law!
Stetson fielded nine teams across four competitions and advanced to the National finals in the Arbitration, Negotiation, and Client Counseling Competitions. Vanessa Denk and Jahanna Azarian finished as national semifinalists at the Client Counseling Nationals in March at North Carolina Central University. The Arbitration team of Olivia Mejido, Max Brown, Caroline Garrity and Meghan Sullivan placed first at the regional competition at Michigan State University College of Law.
“We are delighted to be recognized by the preeminent organization of our nation’s lawyers. Importantly, these skills are the foundation on which our students will build their professional careers to effectively represent clients and advocate for our communities,” added Christopher M. Pietruszkiewicz, Dean and Professor of Law, Stetson University College of Law.
About the rankings
The title of Competitions Champion is awarded to the law school that chalked up the most points through team achievements and participation in the ABA Law Student Division’s four practical skills competitions. Ranking criteria and the point totals for the top teams can be found here.
Why did we create this award? It’s not just because we want ESPN’s College GameDay to start covering our tournaments here and across the country. We wanted to recognize law schools that go above and beyond to help prepare their students for practice. Success in these competitions illustrate each school’s commitment to providing a well-rounded curriculum and preparing students to become highly skilled lawyers. We are proud that the ABA competitions are an important part of the hands-on learning experiences available to students at these exceptional law schools.
“Our four competitions offer students an amazing opportunity to hone essential lawyering skills before they enter practice. Through consistent participation and success in ABA competitions, these law schools display especially well-rounded practical skills training programs. We are thrilled to recognize these schools through the Competitions Championship,” said Connie S. Smothermon, Competitions Committee Co-Chair, Director of Competitions & Externships, University of Oklahoma College of Law.
Judges for the competitions included volunteer attorneys and sitting members of the bench.
Registration for next year’s battles will be open in June. Get your teams ready, study hard, and practice – you and your school just might be next year’s Competitions Champion.
Top Ten ABA Competition Law Schools by Points
1. Stetson University College of Law
2. Texas Tech University School of Law
3. Drake University Law School
4. Liberty University School of Law
5 (tie). University of Oklahoma College of Law
5 (tie). Michigan State University College of Law
7 (tie). Chapman University School of Law
7 (tie). University of Illinois College of Law
9. Southern Methodist University – Dedman School of Law
10 (tie). South Texas College of Law
10 (tie). Texas A&M University School of Law