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Law School Protege a Finalist in National Marshall-Brennan Competition

April 15, 2011

A student from Philadelphia’s Mastery Charter High School who was coached by 3Ls Ryan Nolan and Thomas Rzucidlo was a finalist in the 2011 National Marshall-Brennan Moot Court Competition, held at the law school on April 1 and 2.

Jose Nazario, of Philadelphia, along with a teen from Boston and two from Louisville, emerged from among 51 competitors to make it to the final four. Two teens coached by law students from the University of Louisville won first and second place in the competition, while a teen coached by law students from Boston also made it to the final round.

The field of competitors had been coached by students from Yale Law School in New Haven, Conn., Washington Law School at American University, William Mitchell School of Law in St. Paul, Minn., the College of Law at Arizona State University, Suffolk University Law School, Southern University Law Center, Rutgers School of Law-Camden, the University of Pennsylvania Law School, the Louis D. Brandeis School of Law at the University of Louisville, and the Earle Mack School of Law at Drexel University.

The national competition is the highlight of the Marshall-Brennan Constitutional Literacy Project, which educates teens in urban communities about the relevance of the U.S. Constitution and the American legal system in their lives. Law students around the country teach classes about the legal system in high schools, then groom some of the teens for moot court competitions in their communities. The finalists from local competitions face off in the national contest.

"The Marshall-Brennan Constitutional Literacy Project gives urban teens an understanding and a positive view of the legal system, which is a wonderful outcome all by itself,” said Professor Gwen Stern, director of the Marshall-Brennan Constitutional Literacy Project and the Trial Advocacy Program here at the law school. “But the competition – and the coaching our law students provide leading up to it – really seals the deal. It’s wonderful to see these young people begin to envision careers in the legal profession.”

Shira R. Katz, an associate at Adinolfi & Goldstein of Haddonfield, N.J. and program coordinator for the Marshall-Brennan program at the Earle Mack School of Law, said the national competition was a huge success, thanks in large part to the many volunteers who served as judges.

The final round of the competition was judged by the Hon. Mitchell S. Goldberg and the Hon. C. Darnell Jones of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and the Hon. Frederica Massiah-Jackson of the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas.

The national competition is sponsored by the Brook J. Lenfest Foundation.