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Northwestern Law team wins Midwest regional trial competition

Carly Pace and Caitlin Schumacher will compete for the national championship.

A team from Northwestern Pritzker School of Law’s Bartlit Center on Trial Advocacy won the Midwest Regional of the National Trial Competition, held last weekend in a remote format. They will now go on to compete for the national championship, which will be held in person in Fort Worth, Texas, March 30-April 3.

The team of Carly Pace (JD ’22) and Caitlin Schumacher (JD ’22) won all four rounds, alternating prosecution and defense in a case charging possession with intent to sell cocaine. They defeated teams from UIC John Marshall Law School, Washington University School of Law, Chicago-Kent College of Law and DePaul University College of Law.

The other team of Monica Gerstner (JD ’22), Zakiyah Dillard (JD ’23) and George Avdellas (JD ’23) competed in the tournament’s other bracket. They won three straight rounds before losing narrowly in the finals to a Chicago-Kent team that also will compete in Texas.

Steven Lubet, director of the Bartlit Center for Trial Advocacy, called this year’s team “one of the absolute best we have ever fielded. Carly and Caitlin moved seamlessly from prosecution to defense, always representing their clients at the highest level of courtroom advocacy.” 

Both teams were coached by Richard Levin of Levin, Riback & Adelman. Levin has taught trial advocacy at Northwestern Law for 20 years, coaching teams that have won two national championships and many invitational tournaments.

“Caitlin and Carly are natural trial lawyers, combining innate talent with incredibly hard work and enjoying every minute of it,” Levin said.

Lubet, who is retiring from the Law School at the end of this academic year, said, “It has been a tremendous honor and pleasure to work with Rick Levin, who is one of the truly great trial team coaches in the U.S.”

Northwestern Law has previously won five national championships, the second most of any school.

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