Future trial lawyers shine in inaugural Salsbury Trial Advocacy Tournament

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l-r: Finalists Alexsandra Tamayo ’25, Millicent Sasu ’25 (Best Advocate), Giovanna Monti ’25 (runner-up), Trevor Patschorke ’25 

The University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law launched a new internal advocacy tournament in April. The Salsbury Trial Advocacy Tournament is now the tryout process for the law school’s highly esteemed National Trial Team, which, this year, competed at nine national competitions, placing at six. 

More than 40 students presented a closing argument in Round 1 of the inaugural tournament and approximately half of those students advanced to Round 2. Thirteen students were then selected to join the 2023-24 National Trial Team, and the top four new members were chosen as tournament finalists. 

At the final round of the Salsbury Trial Advocacy Tournament, the finalists presented their cases before the Hon. Julie Rubin ’98 of the Federal District Court for the District of Maryland who called the competitors, “extraordinarily well prepared and at ease.” Eleven National Trial Team alums sat as the jury and scored the trial. Members of the current team played witnesses for the plaintiff and defense. 

Students displayed their advocacy skills in the case of Avery Lim v. Hemminger’s Hardware, which involved issues around slip-and-fall liability and negligence. The Best Advocate award went to Millicent Sasu ’25, a dual JD/MSW student who plans to pursue a career as a juvenile defense attorney. 

"It was an honor to compete in the Salsbury Trial Advocacy Tournament as I not only got to be surrounded by talented students who are passionate about trial advocacy, but I got the opportunity to throw myself into the complexities of trial preparation with my teammate and coaches to put together a defense in a such short amount of time!” said Sasu. “Winning Best Advocate was extremely humbling because I have dreamed of being a trial attorney since I was in middle school and this experience has reinforced my belief in myself and my abilities to advocate for others as I progress in my legal education and future career." 

The other three finalists were Giovanna Monti ’25 (runner-up), Trevor Patschorke ’25, and Alexsandra Tamayo ’25. 

The tournament, explained Salsbury Director of Trial Advocacy Ben Garmoe ’16 in his opening remarks, was made possible by a generous gift from Stuart Salsbury ’71 and Suzanne Salsbury ’73, which also supports Garmoe’s full-time position at the law school. The Salsbury Trial Advocacy Tournament, he said, “will serve for decades as a celebration and showcase of advocacy instruction here at Maryland Carey Law.” 

Stuart Salsbury also spoke to the assemblage, describing the benefits their son Benjamin “Ben” Salsbury ’07 gained from his time on the National Trial Team. “During those two years of mentorship,” he said, “Suzanne and I saw firsthand how important the two-year mentorship was in establishing the fundamentals and skills of becoming an accomplished advocate.” It was also through the team that Ben met his future wife, Rebecca “Becca” Salsbury ’08. 

Now a member of the Maryland Carey Law Board of Visitors, Ben went on after graduation to serve as the team’s co-director for several years and teaches Trial Practice at the law school. This year, he was joined in the classroom by his father. In 2021, the Salsbury family received a UMB Catalyst Award for exemplifying “powerful advocacy for success, achievement, and philanthropy ... while serving as visionaries for future progress.”