The Center for Advocacy


2018 Daniel S. Hoffman Memorial Trial Advocacy Competition Winners:

Champions: Lauren Knapp, Allison Takacs

(pictured l-r with CFA Director, David Schott)


Congratulations to the 2018 Summit Cup Champions : AMERICAN UNIVERSITY LAW SCHOOL!

One year ago, when American University Law School student-advocates Cara Mazor and Alex Raby lost in the Summit Cup Championships to Northwestern, they vowed to return and conquer The Summit Cup.  In 2018, under the coaching of Lisamarie Freitas and Zac Ista, and under the inimitable trial advocacy directorship of AU’s Elizabeth Lippy, that is exactly what Cara and Alex did.  The Summit Cup invites the nation’s top twelve trial team winners from the prior year.   Thus, although Mazor and Raby had to overcome well-seasoned  advocates every step in their climb, they ultimately beat Drexel law’s Michael Wentz and Elizabeth Bertolino to summit the mountain and take home the cup.  Congratulations to all of the teams that earned their way onto the mountain.  Most of all, congratulations to Cara and Alex.

Additional Summit Cup winners included

(based only on Tournament Rounds, not the Medal Rounds):


Semi-finalists:  Northwestern and Georgia State

Most Professional Team:  Maryland

Best Advocate:  Cara Mazor, American

Outstanding Advocacy:  Michael Wentz, Drexel

Juror’s Choice Advocate:  Bradley Bellows, St. Mary’s


Click this link to view the video of the 2018 Summit Cup Championship Round (our apologies, the camera placement for the first half of the trial was not in a great position – it changes at halftime).


Click this link to view the video of the 2018 Summit Cup Jury Deliberations that followed the Championship Round:

summit cup logo

The Official Sponsor of the 2018 Summit Cup

On October 4, 5 and 6, the Center for Advocacy at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law will host its annual national invitational tournament, The Summit Cup.   The top U.S. law school trial advocacy teams are invited to compete in the annual event after earning their invitation by winning a major U.S. tournament last year.  

This year’s honored schools are:  Northwestern (reigning champions), American, Campbell, Cumberland, Drexel, Florida State, Georgia State, Loyola-Chicago, Maryland, St. Mary’s and UC Hastings.

TRIAL BOOM! …the creators of the national, CLE-approved courtroom simulator, is the official sponsor of this year’s Summit Cup.  The Trial Boom courtroom simulator has been described by many as “a flight simulator for attorneys and law school students to help sharpen their courtroom navigation skills and use of the rules of evidence.”  For more information visit:

The year’s courtroom events will take place at the beautiful Jefferson County District Court in Golden, Colorado (“Where The West Lives”).  The case the law school advocates will be arguing is a civil wrongful death claim based upon the murder of Laci Peterson.  

If you desire further information, or wish to serve as a Ruling Judge or Scoring Juror, please contact the CFA Director, Professor David Schott (

2018-2019 National Trial Team

Top Row (l to r)  Alan Oterin, Martin Tenorio, Daniel Woodbridge, Schyeler Gilman, Sean Cuff, Chandler Neumann

Middle Row (l to r) Daniel Steinhauser, John Steele, Brett Kaplan, Taylor Suta, Sam Gangemi, Abby Hegary, Andrew Eads, Gracen Short

Bottom Row  (l to r) Caitlin Birrell, Stephanie Faurotte, Leah Perczak, Lauren Selby, Lauren Knapp Mckenna Mayfield, Allison Takacs, Young Shin, Jacob Goldstein



NEW TOURNAMENTS.  In the 10 years since the Center for Advocacy was birthed, the CFA has launched a national tournament, The Summit Cup, and an intra-school mentoring tournament, The Advocates Cup, thereby bringing the CFA’s total to 3 in-house and 1 national trial-advocacy tournament hosted each year. 

10 NEW COURSES IN 10 YEARS.  The CFA has created 10 new courses and programs all of which support the CFA’s number one goal, to help students get jobs and excel in those jobs upon graduation.   

SHOUTING OUT TO OUR ALUMNI.  The CFA relies heavily on its strong corps of Adjunct Instructors and its alumni database of over 1,100 active local-area attorneys and judges.    The CFA’s emphasis on professional education has garnered a place in the Top 20 best advocacy programs in the country in 6 of the last 7 years (per USNWR), reaching as high as 6th in the country.


The CFA sponsors 12 moot court teams that travel internationally to compete in educational exercises  and tournaments, as well as sponsor its National Trial Team which annually participates in 8 trial advocacy events across the country.  This year the National Trial Team was crowned the Buffalo-Niagara Trial Advocacy Champions, which is the largest nation’s largest invitational trial advocacy tournament.

Pictured (l to r) David Schott – CFA Director; Coach Diana Sada, Students Doyle Bode, Sam Gangemi, Abby Hegarty, Josh Mangelli, and Coach Chris Wilcox.

Additionally, our Mediation Moot Court team won the ABA Representation in Mediation National Competition in Washington, D.C. where over 90 teams competed.

Our Transactional Moot Court team was crowned National Champions at the Transactional LawMeet.

Did You Know? The National Trial Team placed in the “Semi-Finals or Better” in 8 of its last 9 national invitational tournaments (with 3 “near-misses” as Finalists).   However, CFA Director, David C. Schott, is always quick to emphasize, “While winning tournaments is fun, the CFA’s focus continues to be on ‘learning first’ with the ultimate mission being to create professionally-ready graduates to enter our ‘Profession That Takes The Oath’.”   It seems to be working.   The National Trial Team continues with its 100% Colorado Bar Passage rate for its graduating members, and 100% job placement for all graduating National Trial Team members within 6 months of licensure.


Twenty-four students successfully earned the CFA’s “Concentration in Trial Advocacy & Litigation”.  This achievement requires each student to complete at least 24 credit hours with a “B” average or better in trial advocacy-related and professionally-focused courses.  Additionally, if they so choose, students can earn a “Focus” in either civil litigation or criminal litigation within their Concentration.

WHAT’S NEXT - Want to Share Your Wisdom?   If you’d like help our students prepare for entry into our profession, please contact CFA Director, David Schott ( to get signed up as a Ruling Judge or a Scoring Juror in any of the 2018-2019 trial advocacy tournaments:  The Summit Cup – October 4, 5, 6;  The Hoffman Cup – November 2, 3, 4;  The Advocates Cup - April 5, 6, 7.    All volunteers receive a 20% discount on Trial Boom’s new CLE-approved (8 General & 2 Ethics Credits) courtroom simulator (priced at $119).

HE CHAMPIONS!  Pictured L-R:  James Taravella (1L), Kristin Day (1L), Allison Takacs (2L), Sam Gangemi (2L).  CFA Director, David C. Schott

Most Professional Team (tie): Bryn Barasha, Martin Tenorio, Brett Kaplan; Lauren Knapp & Danielle Mark

Best Upperclassmen “Themis Advocate” (tie): Jessica Cordero, Josh Mangiagli

Best 1L “Themis Advocate”: Brett Kaplan


Invited Law Schools include:
American, Baylor, Campbell, Chicago-Kent, Drexel, Florida State
Fordham, UC-Davis, Loyola - Los Angeles, UC-Hastings, Northwestern, Stetson

Official Sponsor of

2016 Hoffman Cup Champions


Picture: Left to Right: David Schott (Center for Advocacy Department Director); Helen Hoopes (Senior Deputy Public Defender); Victoria Klingensmith (Deputy District Attorney); Judge John Madden (District Court Judge); Sara Lindsey Peterson (Champion); Ian Farrell (DU Law Professor); Joshua Mangiagli (Champion and Best Advocate); Grant Grosgebauer (last year’s Hoffman Best Advocate); Rachel Moran (DU Law Clinic Fellow); Diana Sada (Center for Advocacy).

On Nov 2nd, 2016, Sara Lindsey Peterson and Joshua Mangiagli faced off against Chelsea Moore and Doyle Bode in this year’s Daniel S. Hoffman Cup Championship round. The Hoffman cup is the “crown jewel” advocacy tournament for upperclassmen at our law school. The tournament is named after our beloved alumnus, former Dean of DU Law, and nationally-renowned attorney. The finalists endured six very competitive rounds of advocacy. The judges ultimately crowned Sara Lindsey Peterson and Joshua Mangiagli as this year’s Champions and Joshua Mangiagli as this year’s Best Advocate.

Champions: Sara Lindsey Peterson and Joshua Mangiagli
Runners Up: Chelsea Moore and Doyle Bode (not pictured)
Best Advocate: Joshua Mangiagli
Rising Star Advocate: John Steele (not pictured)

2016 Hoffman Best Advocate and Rising Star Advocate

best advocate best rising star

Left to Right: Diana Sada (Center for Advocacy); Joshua Mangiagli (Best Advocate); John Steele (Rising Star Advocate); David Schott (Center for Advocacy Director).


2016 advocates cup champions
March 2016. The Center for Advocacy recently crowned this year’s The Advocates Cup’s Champions. The Cup pairs 1Ls with 2L & 3L partners, to help students be practice-ready graduates. This year’s recipients are:
Reid Dechant
(Returning 2015 Champion)
Mackenzie Ludwig
Chelsea Moore
Tim Luetkemeyer
The Professionalism Award
Jimoh Yussof
Scott Eley
Mark Campbell
Nicholas Smiley-Kallas
Best Overall Advocate
Mackenzie Ludwig
Best 1L Advocate
Josh Mangiagli

Both Best Advocate Winners received a free bar review course generously donated by Themis Bar Review


At the University of Denver Sturm College of Law

aurora theater

District Attorney, Colorado’s 18th Judicial District
Rich Orman
Karen Pearson
Jacob Edson
Lisa Teesch-Maguire

Thursday, Feb 11th, 6:30 PM – 8:30 PM

• Responding to the theater the morning of the shooting
• The challenges of managing 4000 witnesses and victims & admitting 1000’s of items of evidence
• Ethically protecting survivors’ voices and honoring all victims’ legal rights
• The use of graphic photographs and testimony during trial
• Strategies employed to prosecute a mass murderer who claimed insanity
• The experience of the on-call prosecutor the night of the shooting
• Evidentiary presentation of the explosives & hazardous devices found


Hoffman Cup Champions

The Daniel S. Hoffman Memorial Trial Advocacy Tournament is the “crown jewel” advocacy tournament for upperclassmen at our law school. The tournament is named after our beloved alumnus, former Dean of DU Law, and nationally-renowned attorney. The Champions endured six very competitive rounds of advocacy, and were ultimately crowned by our panel of esteemed alumni and area members of the bar (pictured above).

This fall we crowned the following:

Champions: Luke Corliss, Sarah Colburn, and Robert Zahradnik-Mitchell.

Best Advocate: Grant Grosgebauer (not pictured)

Pictured above (left to right): Denver Attorney and DU Alumnus, Cole Wist; Seattle-area and DU Law Alumnus, Barbara Frost; DU Law Alumnus and 2014 Hoffman Cup Best Advocate Winner, Jonathan Coppom; 2015 Champions, Luke Corliss, Robert Zahradnik-Mitchell, Sarah Colburn; Denver District Court Judge, John Madden IV; DU Law Professor C.J. Larkin; Aurora Municipal Judge, Dan Kopper.


DC squad

Our National Trial Team finished in 5th Place (technically tied for 4th place) in a field of 22 teams at Georgetown Law School’s National White Collar Crime Trial Advocacy Tournament. Under the coaching and instruction of Attorney-Coach Sean Olson the All-2L squad of Josh Abromovitz, Alex Duncan, Kelly Frickleton, and Justin Friedberg, competed on behalf of our school, and Josh Abromovitz won the prestigious Best Advocate Award for the tournament.


Buffalo Squad 2015

Our National Trial Team recently competed at the fall Buffalo-Niagara Trial Advocacy Tournament, under the coaching and instruction of Attorney-Coach Kevin Keyes, and Assistant Coach Kyle McFarlane. The squad of Christopher Brummitt, Allison Derschang, Casey Fleming and Steven Visioli advanced past the “breakout” and Christopher Brummit won the prestigious Best Advocate Award.


2015 national trial team

Row 1 – Allison Derschang, Sarah Colburn, Neillie Fields, Arielle Hanser, Elizabeth Austin, Kelly Frickleton
Row 2 – Casey Fleming, Padraic Emerine, Grant Grosgebauer, Josh Abromovitz, James Bornhoft, Chris Brummitt
Row 3 – Steve Visioli, Gavin Jacobs, Justin Friedberg, Alex Duncan, Luke Corliss
Not Pictured:
Team Members: Christy Redmond, Robert Zahradnik-Mitchell
Coaches: Sean Olson, Brad Moloney, Nicole Quintana, Garrik Storgaard, Chris Wilcox, Kevin Keyes, Kyle McFarlane, Katy Konecny, and David Schott


shanghai moot competition

Spring 2015. The University of Denver Vis International Commercial Arbitration Team won the 5th Annual Moot Shanghai Competition in Shanghai, China. The Moot is a ramp-up tournament to competition in Hong Kong and Vienna. Thirty-two teams from twelve countries competed in four preliminary rounds followed by Quarter, Semi, and the Championship Round. Vis East team members Katie McAuley and Samantha Peaslee competed against the Pontifical Catholic University of Sao Paulo (Brazil) in the final round, winning the entire moot. Samantha Peaslee also received a Best Oralist Honorable Mention.

Pictured: Samantha Peaslee and Katie McAuley

Jessup team 2nd place


Spring 2015. Our Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Team competed at the Pacific Regional competition in Portland, Oregon. Defeating Hastings, the reigning five-year champion, our squad advanced to the Championship Round. For the 3rd consecutive year our team will be advancing to the international rounds (“Worlds”) in Washington D.C. Teammate Matt Thornton placed in the Top 7 Oralists. The team, pictured below, is comprised of J. Matt Thornton, Alex Jennings, Maral Shoaei, and Philip Nickerson. Coached by Megan Matthews, who is assisted by Molly McNab, and Coach Emeritus, John Powell.


advocates cup champs

March 2015. The Advocates Cup was successfully launched as the newest facet of DU Law’s Experiential Advantage Curriculum™. Pairing 1Ls with 2L & 3L partners, to help students be practice-ready graduates, The Advocacy Department proudly announces the following winners:


Arielle Hanser Steve Visioli Reid Dechant
Gavin Jacobs

The Professionalism Award

Elizabeth Austin
Alita King
Mackenzie Shields
John Steele

Best Overall Advocate
Dustin Heard

Best 1L Advocate
Tim Tarr

Both Best Advocate Winners received a free bar review course generously donated by Themis Bar Review

1st PLACE!

Vis Moot Court Team


Spring 2015. The Denver Law Vis Team took 1st Place by winning the 9th Annual Michael Thorsnes International Arbitration Competition, hosted by the University of San Diego School of Law. The tournament was part of a series of moot court tournaments leading up to the Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot. Thirty teams competed, representing schools from around the country.

Denver Law was represented by Lorne Hiller, Mamie Ling, Cheyenne Moore and Giedre Stasiunaite. Mamie Ling and Giedre Stasiunaite arbitrated in the Championship Round. Giedre Stasuinaite was runner-up for Best Oralist.

Coren Hinkle



national trial team

Fall 2014. San Juan, Puerto Rico. Our National Trial Team competed in the Puerto Rico Trial Advocacy Competition. Our squad, which* won the Hoffman Cup Championship* just 3 days prior, traveled to Puerto Rico and went undefeated, sweeping Georgetown Law School in their last round. Incredibly, this squad won 8 straight rounds in 2 tournaments in 8 days…and never lost a ballot (winning 27 of 27 possible ballots).

Muy Bien!

  • Jonathan Coppom
  • Jordan Labonde
  • Arielle Hanser
  • Grant Grosgebauer


  • David Schott
  • Chris Wilcox


tournament of champions

Tournament of Champions Semi-Finalist

Fall 2014. Waco, TX. Our National Trial Team competed in the Tournament of Champions, arguably the most competitive of all national tournaments in the country. Only the Top 16 Advocacy Departments in the country are invited. Our squad advanced all the way to the Semi-Finals…a feat never accomplished in the history of our school. Our students deftly displayed their* case analysis skills, evidentiary knowledge, professionalism and prowess “in the well.”*

Well Done.

  • Casey Brown
  • Adrienne Jones
  • Casey Krizman
  • Madalia Maaliki
  • Coach Sean Olson


trial squad nationals


Spring 2014. OKLA. The Advocacy Department (TAD) is proud to announce that our National Trial Team recently brought home the regional championship crown in the National Trial Competition. After 5 hard-fought rounds our squad defeated crosstown rival CU in the Finals. Our squad will be the 5th team in 5 years that we are sending to The National Trial Championships in Texas. With professionalism as their priority, our gang deftly applied their case analysis skills, “flash advocacy” skills, and evidentiary prowess.


  • Jonathan Coppom
  • Darin Smith
  • Nick Tootalian


  • Brad Moloney, D.D.A. 1st
  • David Schott, TAD Director
  • Chris Wilcox, D.D.A. 18th
Sturm College of Law
University of Denver
2255 E. Evans Avenue
Denver, CO 80208