March 04, 2005
The Frank S. Polestino Trial Advocacy Institute has done it
again. February 24, 2005 through February 27,
2005 the trial institute continued their unprecedented success
by advancing to the Nationals Competitions for both the American
Trial Lawyer’s Association (ATLA) and National Black Law Students
Association (NBLSA) Competitions!
The team of Tom Brennan, Elizabeth Brown, Alex Gilbert and John
Paul Igoe, took 1st Place at the ATLA Competition. They were
coached by our alumnus Kareem Vessup.
The team of Nancy Durand, Raasheja Page, Lanielle Roach, and
Denetra Thompson took 2nd Place at the NBLSA Competition. They were
coached by our alumnus Eylan Schulman.
Along with these teams, our other ATLA team finished 5th
overall. The team of Jessica Duffy, GP Scarola, Deven Smith and
Pishoy Yacoub went 2 - 1 in the tournament, losing to the 4th Place
team by 1 ballot. They were coached by Joe Seiger.
These results are indicative of the fantastic year that St.
John’s Law School has had with Mock Trial Competitions.
Earlier in the Spring Semester, the team of Phan Alvarado, Robert
Carroll and Wayne Gosnell, coached by Steven Murphy (ADA Brooklyn),
finished as co-Champions of the Texas Young Lawyer’s Association
(TYLA) Competition in Syracuse, NY, making this the third
consecutive year St. John’s has won this competition.
In the Fall Semester, two teams qualified for the ABA National
Competition by winning separate regional competitions. The
team of Chris Holbrooke, Ken Kushner, Vinny Lee and Kerry Rowe,
coached by Scott Occhiogrosso (ADA Brooklyn) finished First for the
second year in a row at the Northeast Regional Criminal Justice
Trial Advocacy Competition. The team of Felice Barry, Guido
Gabriele, Kristi Guigliano, and Andrew Kepple, coached by Burton
Ryan (AUSA) took first place at the National White Collar Crime
Mock Trial Invitational.
St. John’s Law School will be sending these winning teams to all
four of the national competitions, a feat never before achieved by
this law school, and a feat that is unique to St. John’s this
The Frank S. Polestino Trial Advocacy Institute is a student run
organization that teaches trial advocacy techniques through
lectures, practices and competitions. Started in 2003, the
Institute was born from the union of the Criminal Law Institute and
the Civil Trial Institute and is named after the late Frank S.
Polestino, a distinguished professor and faculty advisor for the
Criminal Law Institute. It is the goal of the Institute to
raise the level of advocacy at St. John’s University School of