Members of the Niagara University Trial Advocacy team.

For the third year in a row, Niagara University pre-law students were able to take their classroom education to the courtroom during a mock trial competition against a team from the University at Buffalo School of Law in April. The students conducted criminal and civil trials using a hypothetical scenario where a minister was accused of killing his paramour either intentionally or as a result of a car accident.

Richelle Kloch, Jordan Burns, Morgan Palmer, Emily Wilbur, Sarah Devantier, Jacob Tucker, Arianna Gabriel, George Lodick, Emma Mercurio, Madelyne Filipski, and Joseph Jeffery, students in Niagara’s Trial Advocacy class, conducted the four separate trials, and each of their teams were awarded best presentation during the competition. In addition, Kloch and Wilbur won best advocate designation, and three of the four verdicts were in Niagara University’s favor. This is the third year that the Niagara University undergraduate class bested the law school contingent to win the contest.

“The Trial Advocacy class has been one of the best experiences at NU,” said Richelle Kloch. “The way that Judge Kloch is able to teach students how to go to trial in such a short amount of time is absolutely amazing. In the beginning, we had many students who never tried to present a case in court, let alone had seen a trial before. However, at the end of the semester, we overwhelmingly beat UB law students in a mock trial competition. This class is a top-notch program that prepares students for law school and trial work!”

 “Judge Kloch’s Trial Advocacy class was a wonderful experience and a must for any student who seriously wishes to pursue a career in the legal profession,” Tucker agreed. “His class provides an excellent overview of the evidence and trial process. Acting as a lawyer, I gained invaluable experience arguing my case before a third-year law student with another student from the class. I would recommend this class to everyone who has an interest in the law. Judge Kloch is an experienced legal professional and one of the best professors I have had the honor of taking a class with on campus.”

The Trial Advocacy course, which is offered as part of the pre-law curriculum at Niagara, serves as an introduction to trial practice and aids graduates who go on to law school and plan to participate in trial competition at the law school level. New York Supreme Court Justice Richard C. Kloch Sr., a former professor at UB Law, teaches the course.

 “It was a tremendous accomplishment for our undergraduate students to stand eye-to-eye with graduate students and outshine them,” Judge Kloch said. “The importance of the program is to allow our students to gain some experience at trial dynamics in preparation for law school. This provides a marketable skill for the real world.”