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McGeorge ties for 7th in nation for ABA competitions

May 8, 2020

University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law tied for seventh in the country in perhaps the truest test of lawyering skills a law student can face — the American Bar Association Competition Championship.

The championship goes to the law school earning the most points combined from all four ABA Law Student Division competitions, which means teams over the past year had to do well in separate competitions testing skills in arbitration, negotiations, client counseling and moot court. What is even more impressive about McGeorge’s solid top-10 finish is that the law school fielded teams in just three of the competitions.

“We’re thrilled with the outcome. This achievement is a testament to the hard work and dedication of our students and the excellent guidance provided by their coaches,” said Michael Colatrella Jr., the law school’s interim dean. “That our students were able to earn enough points to place in the top 10 when taking part in just three of the competitions is very impressive. Doing well in the ABA contests is a great way for our law students to set themselves apart as practice-ready attorneys.”

The ABA competitions help law students hone skills they will use throughout their legal career.

“As a student, it is great to know that McGeorge is invested in providing us opportunities to participate in competitions such as those offered by the ABA,” said Yahir Barragan ’20, who along with Ian Cumings ’21 placed third in the 2020 ABA Negotiation Competition National Finals. “The negotiations competition has been one of the best experiences I have had while at McGeorge. It has allowed me to grow and gain helpful skills as a future attorney that I probably would not have learned otherwise.”

Barragan also praised fellow law students and coaches in achieving the ranking.

“Being ranked seventh in the country is an amazing accomplishment and I could not be prouder of my partner in the negotiations competition, my classmates in the two other competitions, and all of our coaches for the countless weeks of preparation and support,” he said.

Cumings agreed.

“I am thrilled for our school as a whole,” he said. “I feel as though we all succeed together as a community. Doing so well in these competitions demonstrates to the country the caliber and dedication of our student body. I am honored to have been a part of the negotiations team and a student at McGeorge. I could not have done it without my partner, Yahir, and I look forward to next year’s competitions.”

Teamwork is a large part of each team’s success. Camille Reid ’20 and Juliana Combs ’20 won the regionals for ABA’s Client Interviewing and Counseling competition, but coaches and other members provided feedback and scrimmaged against Reid and Combs to sharpen their skills.

“This team worked tirelessly for the past year to make sure that we were ready for whatever we came across in the competition,” Reid said. “We are lucky to have such an excellent team that built on each other's strengths and encouraged each other throughout the competition. ... It is a wonderful feeling to be able to finish my law school career on such a high note.”

The results also speak to the quality of legal education offered at McGeorge.

“Through consistent participation and success in ABA competitions, these law schools display especially well-rounded practical skills training programs,” said Connie S. Smothermon, the competitions committee co-chair and director of competitions and externships at University of Oklahoma College of Law. “We are thrilled to recognize these schools through the Competitions Championship.”

ABA competitions test legal skills that law students will use in their professional lives. Volunteer attorneys and judges serve as competition judges. More than 1,300 law students from 180 law schools competed in one or more competition in ABA’s Law School Division. The top 10 ABA Competition Law Schools by points were:

  1. Texas Tech University School of Law
    2. Stetson University College of Law
    3. University of Oklahoma College of Law
    4. St. Mary’s University School of Law
    5. (tie) Northwestern University School of Law
    5. (tie) Ohio State University – Moritz College of Law
    7. (tie) Drake University Law School
    7. (tie) McGeorge School of Law
    9. (tie) Liberty University School of Law
    9. (tie) SMU – Southern Methodist University – Dedman School of Law

McGeorge did well all year in competitions across the country. Read more about those.


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