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Law and medical students join forces in national mock-trial competition

Fourth-year medical student-trial experts (left to right): Jason Goodman, Dr. Jamie Ullman (trial evaluator), Kayla Hackman, Jessica Hundal, Erica Jessen, Cyrus Kuschner, Erik Simonson, Dinesh Kommareddy, Patrick Monahan, Divya Shah, Emily Chen, and Dr. Gino Farina (trial evaluator).
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HEMPSTEAD, NY—The 2nd Annual National Medical-Legal Trial Competition hosted by the Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University and the Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell came to a spirited litigation finale as Campbell University Norman Adrian Wiggins School of Law captured first place in the only mock-trial contest in the country in which medical and law schools collaborate to simulate real-life expert testimony by doctors. The competition took place Nov. 1-3.

Winning photo (left-right): Jared Rosenblatt, Hon. Judge Arthur Diamond, Hofstra Law Dean Gail Prudenti, and Dr. Gino Farina (fourth from right) with trial winners from Campbell School of Law: Jake Terrell, Chamberlain Collier, Justin Hill, Kayla Hackman (Zucker School of Medicine), Kelsey Myers, and Josh Steedly.

Ten law schools competed in three preliminary rounds of a fictitious civil trial involving dueling medical experts. Each law school was assigned a fourth-year student from the Zucker School of Medicine to serve as an expert witness. Opening rounds were held at the Nassau County Supreme Court with closing rounds held at Hofstra Law’s Weitz & Luxenberg Trial Courtroom.

Campbell School of Law’s winning team included Jake Terrell, Chamberlain Collier, and Justin Hill with Zucker medical student Kayla Hackman serving as their expert witness.

“I was very impressed with the level of skill, knowledge, and poise displayed by both the law and medical students in this setting,” said New York State Supreme Court judge, Hon. Arthur Diamond, ’78, a Hofstra Law alum who was the presiding judge in the final mock-trial round. “Their collaboration and enthusiasm were especially impressive following a few days of rigorous competition.”

Students Myles Carroll, Breanna Brill, Emin Drnovsek representing Chicago-Kent College of Law with medical student Divya Shah placed second in the competition. St. John’s University School of Law and William & Mary Law School were among the semifinalists. Other competition honors include:

  • Best Expert Witness: Divya Shah, Zucker School of Medicine;  
  • Best Use of an Expert: Emin Drnovsek, Chicago-Kent College of Law;
  • Outstanding Advocates in a Preliminary Round:  William Healy, St. John’s School of Law; Justin Hill, Campbell School of Law; Eric Gilliand, William & Mary Law School;
  • Best Overall Advocate in Preliminary Round: Myles Carroll, Chicago-Kent College of Law.

This year each team had access to leading industry consultants from DOAR, a litigation-strategy and expert-witness consulting firm, for support with trial graphics and presentation. The contest featured more than 50 attorneys and judges, including nearly 20 doctors, who attended the competition to evaluate the students.

“I competed in mock-trials as a Hofstra Law student now I participate as an evaluator or a judge,” said Andres Sanchez, ’15, who currently works in medical malpractice litigation. “We used to have law students pretend to be doctors in mock trials. It is impressive to involve and listen to the medical students who understand the medical issues in the case, which makes the experience much more authentic for participants.”

Mock-trial evaluator and Zucker School of Medicine professor of neurology/surgery, Jamie Ullman, MD, points to the ability to work together as a multidisciplinary team as an invaluable aspect of the tournament. 

“It was great to watch the law students and medical students work on their parts [of the case] and bring it all together to present a solid, clear argument.” 

For more information about the National Medical-Legal Trial Competition, please contact tournament director and faculty advisor to the Hofstra Trial Advocacy Association, Jared Rosenblatt, ’03, at lawjrr@hofstra.edu, or Zucker School of Medicine’s Gino Farina, MD, assistant dean for clinical preparation for residency, at Gino.A.Farina@hofstra.edu.

About the author

Adrienne Stoller

Adrienne Stoller is communications manager at the Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell. For more information about news items or media inquiries, please send a message to Adrienne.M.Stoller@hofstra.edu or call 516-463-7585.

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