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Trial Team Wins Regional Championship in National Trial Competition

February 14, 2011

Trial Team members Michael Benz and Margaret Wheltle won one of two Regional Championship trophies in the National Trial Competition, the nation’s toughest and most prestigious.

The pair advanced to the national finals, which will be held April 6-10 in Houston, Tex.

Benz, a 2L, was named Best Oral Advocate in his final round.

A second team of Tony Diulio and Priscilla Jimenez advanced to the semi-finals in this regional competition, which was held Feb. 10-12 in Philadelphia’s Criminal Justice Center.

This is just the second year the school entered the National Trial Competition.

The teams were coached by Royce W. Smith, of Feldman Shepherd Wohlgelernter Tanner Weinstock & Dodig, LLP and David K. Inscho, of Kline & Specter. Both have firsthand experience on winning mock trial teams and won awards for their oral advocacy skills when they were law students.

"This is the Daytona 500 of trial competitions," Inscho said. "This is by far the most prestigious and the most competitive mock trial competition in the country. And our region is extremely competitive. I’m so proud of the team."

Smith said the students were committed to improving the entire team’s performance.

"It should not be lost on anyone how much each student sacrificed to make this possible. Beyond the multiple practices per week, our students dedicated countless hours of their personal time to perfecting not only themselves, but also each other. This is truly a team victory," Smith said. "These four students demonstrated two important facts. First, Priscilla, Tony, Maggie, and Michael are purebred trial lawyers. Second, the law school’s Trial Advocacy Program is now on the map."