Texas Tech University

Law Places Second in Inaugural ABA Competitions Championship

George Watson

July 12, 2018


The ranking by the American Bar Association awards points for achievements in skills competitions.

The reputation of the Texas Tech University School of Law continues to grow nationwide after it placed second in the recently completed American Bar Association (ABA) Competitions Championship.

The first-time ranking, compiled by the ABA, ranked overall performance for law schools across the U.S. in four practical skills competition categories – appellate advocacy, arbitration, negotiation and client counseling.

The Competitions Championship was established to recognize law schools that go above and beyond to prepare students for practice. The law school with the most points through team achievements and participation in the ABA Law Student Division's four practical skills competitions receives the ABA Competitions Champion title.

This ranking recognizes the Texas Tech School of Law's commitment to training students to become highly skilled lawyers and the success of the advocacy program as a whole.

Robert Sherwin
Robert Sherwin

“I'm particularly proud because this ranking is the first to recognize our program as a whole, not just moot court, not just negotiations, not just any one competition,” said Robert Sherwin, an associate professor of law and director of advocacy programs for the Texas Tech School of Law. “My only frustration is that this is the first year they've done it. Had they started this last year or the year before, I'm about 99 percent certain we would have been the inaugural champions instead of second place.”

Sherwin said the majority of Texas Tech's points in the competition this year came from its efforts in negotiation and appellate advocacy. He said Texas Tech finished second in the regional negotiation competition and third at the national competition while winning the regional appellate advocacy competition for the 10th straight year and making it to the final eight at nationals.

Erika Sparkman and Benjamin Falk comprised the negotiation team while Kristen Gavigan, Rachel Holland-Hadjjis and Davinder Jassal made up the appellate advocacy team.

Sherwin said the law school has been heavily involved in past ABA competitions for several reasons. He said the two-stage structure of having regional and national competitions makes them much harder to win and, therefore, better prepares students to practice law. Also, ABA competitions are administered by law school professors instead of student groups, and with the ABA as the primary accrediting body for law schools, their competitions bring an extra level of prestige and attract the most talented law students from around the U.S.

“We have always focused heavily on the ABA's competitions because they're typically more prestigious than other tournaments,” Sherwin said. “We invest heavily in preparing for the ABA competitions. We send our very best students and coaches and aim for attending regionals where we have the best chances of winning.”

The ranking criteria and the point totals for the top teams can be found here.

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