William & Mary Law School won the first 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. The competition took place Nov. 16-18. The opening rounds were held at the Nassau County Courthouse, and the final round was held in Hofstra Law’s Weitz & Luxenberg Trial Courtroom.
Ten law schools participated in the inaugural competition, which is the only law school competition in the country to have a medical school and law school collaborate. Each law school was assigned a Zucker School of Medicine student to play the role of an expert witness. The school prepared the medical student for the trial, and the medical student was available to consult on medical issues. During the competition, the medical students were cross-examined on any material relevant to their testimony, including literature not contained in the fact pattern.
“I want to congratulate William & Mary Law School. Their advocacy skills demonstrated throughout all five rounds were phenomenal, and it is clear their medical student helped their case analysis and theory,” said Jared Rosenblatt ’03, competition organizer and faculty advisor to the Hofstra Trial Advocacy Association (HTAA). “I also want to thank Judge Gail Prudenti, dean of Hofstra Law, for encouraging our law school to produce the most innovative trial competition in the country.”
Brooklyn Law School finished in second place in the competition, and Chicago-Kent College of Law and Faulkner University’s Thomas Goode Jones School of Law were semifinalists. Award recipients included:
• Best Opening Statement Preliminary Rounds: Stefhany Duarte, Chicago-Kent College of Law
• Best Closing Statement Preliminary Rounds: Kayla Smith, Brooklyn Law School
• Best Direct Examination Preliminary Rounds: Muhannad Al Nisheiwat, Brooklyn Law School
• Best Cross Examination Preliminary Rounds: Michael Schostok, Chicago-Kent College of Law
• Best Use of an Expert Witness Preliminary Rounds: Michael Schostok, Chicago-Kent College of Law
• Best Expert Witness Preliminary Rounds, Awarded to a Medical Student: Vlad Fomin, Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell
“Participating in the Medical-Legal Trial Competition taught me about collaborating with lawyers,” said Fomin, a fourth-year medical student at the Zucker School of Medicine. “Furthermore, it taught me that as an expert witness your duty is to the truth, not necessarily arguing for a side.”
More than 50 attorneys, including three judges, and 25 doctors attended the competition to evaluate the students.
“This competition is the hard work of a team of special people,” added Rosenblatt. “A special thanks to Dr. Gino Farina and his outstanding 15 medical students and the faculty and administration at the Zucker School of Medicine, as well as Kyle Schiedo ’16 and Helene Weiss ’16 for helping to draft and coordinate the competition.”
The competition was sponsored by the litigation-consulting firm DOAR.