Final Four Finale

Students in McGeorge's Final Four competiton arguing their cases on Zoom to three alumni judges.

McGeorge students Stephanie Allen, Saralyn Adkins, Steven Weiss, and Christine Shantz argue their cases to the three alumni judges at McGeorge's annual Final Four Competition.

McGeorge student Steven Weiss won the law school’s Top Oral Advocate Award on April 8 at McGeorge's annual Global Lawyering Skills II Final Four competition. The 2021 edition of the competition was held, for the first time, online.

Saralyn Adkins and Weiss argued for the plaintiff/petitioner against Stephanie Allen and Christine Shantz, who argued for the defendant/respondent, in this annual event that brings to a close McGeorge’s second-year Global Lawyering Skills program.

“This year’s finalists were remarkable in their ability to create a strong presence and engage with an extremely active bench, even while constrained within a digital platform,” said McGeorge Professor Adrienne Brungess, one of the co-directors of the program. “Thanks to the additional accessibility afforded us by having the event online, our final round drew nearly 100 spectators and was one of the most exciting in recent memory.”

Judge Consuelo "Connie" Callahan, JD '75, U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals; Justice Ronald Robie, JD '67, California Court of Appeal, Third Appellate District; and Justice Andre Hoch, JD '84, California Court of Appeal, Third Appellate District, comprised the distinguished, all-alumni judicial panel that grilled the four finalists.

The four contestants emerged from an earlier round of 16 that also included: Taylor Arthur, Michael Crisostomo, Anna Evans, Miranda Freeman, Jackson Hadden, Melissa Hurtado, Lynn Kamau, Tess Irving, Sammey La Porta, Steve Martinez, Jeremy McLinden, and Kylie Ohm.

Four students were honored for outstanding appellate briefs. Tyler O'Connell and Christopher Wheless wrote the best two petitioner briefs while Christine Luu and Ohm authored the top respondent briefs. They were selected for the Best Appellate Brief Award from a top-16 field that also included: Savanna Corr, Jordan Hutchings, Tess Irving, Yessica Lopez Bastidas, Nicole Pederson, Rachel Puleo, A.J. Rossitto, Anthony Salaber, Navpreet Sekhon, Mamta Singh, Shisha Yang and Crisostomo.

This year’s incredibly successful online Final Four was co-directed by GLS Professors Brungess and Jeff Proske. Among the more than 100 people who tuned in were the competitors’ fellow McGeorge students, students in University of the Pacific’s Pacific Legal Scholars program, and more than a dozen current applicants to the law school.

Last year’s GLS Final Four championship was cancelled for the first time in its 47-year history, due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Alex Haggard, Montana Massone, Rachel Pombo and Ian Worrell were the top student advocates in the 2020 GLS program.