UCLA Trial Teams Reach Semifinals of Regional Tournament

20190212 UCLA Trial Team
From left: Katherine Pappas, Adrian Ferrari, Shalaka Phadnis, Justin Bernstein, Brittnee Bui, Connor Trafton, Bailey Loverin, Ian Grady, J'me Forrest and J.D. Rees III.

Two squads from the UCLA School of Law Trial Team advanced to the semifinals of the American College of Trial Lawyers' National Tournament Competition qualifier in Orange County in early February.

This continues the program's winning streak: Stretching back to the 2017-18 academic year, all of the last 10 UCLA teams to compete have advanced to the playoff rounds at their tournaments.

In the Orange County tournament, a team of first-time contestants, Adrian Ferrari '19, Ian Grady '19 and Katherine Pappas '19 won three of their four trials. The team was coached by J.D. Rees III '14, an associate at Sheppard Mullin, and Justin Bernstein, director of UCLA Law's A. Barry Cappello Program in Trial Advocacy.

Brittnee Bui '19, Bailey Loverin '19, Shalaka Phadnis '19 and Connor Trafton '19 comprised the other team. Heading into the playoff rounds, they had an undefeated record and the tournament's largest margin of victory. They were coached by J'me Forrest, an associate at Munger Tolles & Olson, and Bernstein.

The case involved a homicide prosecution following a car crash that ejected all three occupants of a vehicle and killed two. The central questions were whether the defendant was the driver and whether she was intoxicated. The UCLA teams represented both sides.