College of Law student Erika Simonson L’19 won the annual Hancock Estabrook LLP Oral Advocacy Competition for first year students held on Thursday, February 16, 2017 in the Melanie Gray Ceremonial Courtroom, Dineen Hall, Syracuse University College of Law. Esther Aparicio L’19 was runner-up.
89 first year students participated in the appellate-style competition over the course of a week in February. The case involved the death of a child’s beloved dog in the fictitious jurisdiction of West Pentucky. At trial, a jury awarded emotional distress damages to the dog’s family-owners, and the defendant appealed. The West Pentucky Court of Appeals reversed and found no legal basis for awarding noneconomic damages in the case of the death of a family pet. The dog’s family-owners appealed to the Supreme Court of West Pentucky. For the competition, students prepared arguments on behalf of the family-petitioner and defendant-respondent.
Finalists Erika Simonson and Esther Aparicio argued five times before reaching the final round. At the final round they argued before a distinguished panel of judges and evaluators, who included: Hon. Mae A. D’Agostino L’80, United States District Judge for the Northern District of New York; Hon. Brenda K. Sannes, United States District Judge for the Northern District of New York; Hon. Thrse Wiley Dancks L’91, United States Magistrate Judge for the Northern District of New York; Janet Callahan, Esq., Managing Partner, Hancock Estabrook, LLP; and Tim Murphy, Esq. L’89, Partner, Hancock Estabrook, LLP.