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UC law students place first in Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine’s statewide competition

Congratulations to UC Law’s mock trial team for winning first place at the Sixth Annual Ohio Attorney General’s Trial Practice Competition on Friday, Nov. 16.

The team consisted of Nikki Srivastava (3L) and Riley Able (2L) as attorneys, and Raika Casey (1L) and Michael Chernoff (1L) as witnesses. Srivastava and Able were also named "best advocates" within one of their rounds after they presented both sides of the case.

J. Bartley Cosgrove, Ohio Attorney General’s managing attorney, Consumer Protection Section, and director of the Economic Crimes Unit, and Lisa Treleven, associate assistant attorney general Consumer Protection Section coached the students. Cincinnati Law’s Professor Marjorie Corman Aaron serves as the faculty advisor for the team.

Students received the competition’s case problem in September, only two months before the event. The case focused on gender discrimination and defamation.

Acting as the lead counsel on the defense side, Nikki Srivastava explains, “We are given depositions, exhibits, and expert reports regarding the case to help us prep. Not only do we have to prepare a case presentation and witnesses, we also have to prepare legal arguments to keep evidence out of court or admitted into court.”

UC mock trial team

Raika Casey (1L),Riley Able (2L), Nikki Srivastava (3L), and Michael Chernoff.

Each team presented both sides of the case in two separate rounds. The rounds were judged by experienced public-service litigators and private practitioners from around Ohio.

Professor Aaron shared that one of the team members even had a secret weapon. "Riley Able's undergraduate acting major and work in improvisational theater in New York City are evident in his presence and trial performance,” Aaron explains.

In addition to Able’s acting background, the team had plenty of mock trial experience in their pocket. Srivastava and Able were selected in a competitive audition for the trial practice team during their 1L year. The audition was part of the Trial Practice course taught last year by Cincinnati City Solicitor's Office attorneys Peter Stackpole and Terry Nestor (recently judge-elect), and this year by attorneys Bill Blessing and Bill Markovits, with Professor Aaron.

“Throughout the competition,” Srivastava notes, “our trial strategy never changed, but some things happen in court that you cannot predict or anticipate. So, you have to think on your feet. Luckily, I had teammates who were able to roll with the punches and can easily follow your plan.”

Srivastava has participated in and coached mock trial teams for six years. However, she explains that this win could not have been possible without the supportive coaches and fellow teammates for their success.