Matt O’Connell, managing shareholder of Sutter O’Connell, presented the second annual Lawrence A. Sutter Award for Best Advocate at the conclusion of the AAJ Regional Mock Trial Tournament held in Cleveland on March 2-4, 2018. This year’s recipient was Ashley Lanz, a 2L at The University of Akron School of Law.
The AAJ Student Trial Advocacy Competition, sponsored by the American Association for Justice, is one of the largest national mock trial competitions in the United States. Law schools are divided and assigned to one of 14 regions, each with 16 teams, for a total of 224 teams vying for a regional championship and an invitation to the national competition this April in Raleigh, North Carolina. Trials are heard by a panel of three judges comprised of practicing trial counsel, and actual trial judges from the area, who score student advocates based on their skills in opening statement, direct examination, cross examination, closing argument, and knowledge of the rules of evidence. This year’s competition involves a medical negligencecase arising from a vehicle accident involving the plaintiff and the patient of a medical doctor. The plaintiff alleges the doctor failed to properly diagnose his patient’s seizure disorder and failed to follow his legal duty to report the diagnosis to the local Department of Motor Vehicles so that the patient’s license could be suspended until the condition improved
The Cleveland, Ohio region is nationally unique by formally recognizing the tournament’s “Best Advocate”. The Sutter Award is named in honor of the late Larry Sutter, who was a founding and managing shareholder at Sutter O’Connell until his passing in March 2017. Larry was an adjunct professor at The University of Akron School of Law, director of Akron Law’s Trial Team program and a long time fixture on the national mock trial competition stage. The region hosted teams from Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland State University, Duquesne University, Michigan State University, University of Akron, University of Michigan, University of Pittsburgh, and Wayne State University.