NIU Law Team Finishes as Runner-Up in National NLLSA Moot Court Competition

Professor Robert Jones is pictured with Spencer Chikahisa (’20) and Manuel Valdez (’19).

Manuel Valdez (’19) and Spencer Chikahisa (’20) from NIU College of Law finished as runners-up at the 11th Annual National Latina/o Law Student Association (NLLSA) Moot Court competition held October 3-4th in New York City.  The moot court competition included twenty teams from law schools across the country and was co-hosted by Cardozo School of Law, New York University School of Law, New York Law School, and Columbia Law School. 

NIU Law fielded two teams comprised of law students Manuel Valdez (’19) and Spencer Chikahisa (’20) along with Marlén Romero García (’19) and Lizandra Gomez-Ramirez (’20).  The team of Valdez and Chikahisa advanced through all four of their rounds to make the finals of the competition, defeating the University of Idaho College of Law, Santa Barbara College of Law, St. John’s University School of Law, and Florida Coastal Law School.  The finals were held at the Thurgood Marshall United States Courthouse in Manhattan before a bench consisting of the Honorable Victor Marrero (S.D.N.Y.), the Honorable Edgardo Ramos (S.D.N.Y), and the Honorable Arlene Lindsay (E.D.N.Y.).   

From left: Ryan Fragassi (’19), Lizandra Gomez-Ramirez (’20), Spencer Chikahisa (’20), Prof. Jones, Manuel Valdez (’19), Marlen Romero Garcia (’19), Laura Cholula (’21)

“I am so proud of Manny, Spencer, Marlén, and Lizandra,” said faculty coach Professor Robert Jones.  “All four of them were outstanding advocates and have such bright futures as attorneys.    Manny and Spencer were phenomenal and deserved the accolades they received from all the judges throughout the competition.”      

At the conference, Laura Cholula (’21) was awarded the National Latina/o Law Student Association scholarship.  Alumni Sussethe Renteria (’18), Director of Policy Initiatives and Raquel Chavez (’18), Central Regional Director served on the NLLSA national board that organized the Conference.   

Numerous individuals helped prepare the moot court teams, including Professor Clanitra Nejdl, Professor Wendy Vaughn, Ryan Fragassi (’19), Gladys Santana (’11), Irakere Picon (’15), Brian Cunningham (’16), Miranda Hernandez (’17), Noely Alicea-Munoz (’17), Alejandro Cuautli (’17) and Hinal Patel (’18). 

“I am very fortunate to work with such dedicated students and alumni,” stated Jones.  “I also want to thank Dean Mark Cordes for his commitment and support over the years for our LLSA students and the NLLSA organization.”

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