4/23/2014 1:19:41 PM

Moot Courtroom Raises the Bar

Monday, March 11, 2013

By Sarah Vistocco '13

It was a standing-room-only crowd inside Siena College’s newest academic space as alumni Jay Girvin ’78, Esq. and Sal Ferlazzo ’77, Esq. cut the ribbon to open officially the moot courtroom that bears their name.

The Girvin & Ferlazzo Moot Courtroom, located in Siena Hall, is a flexible space that will serve as a classroom and courtroom. It will allow students to learn about the legal profession and give members of the Honorable James P. King Moot Court/Mock Trial Team a space to train, practice and scrimmage in preparation for competitions through the American Mock Trial Association.

Pre-Law Advisor and Political Science Department Chair Professor Len Cutler, Ph.D. works closely with the team and said that the College community will benefit from having direct access to the courtroom and the mock trial process. “No pun intended, but it will raise the bar considerably,” Cutler said. “We are truly grateful to Jay Girvin and Sal Ferlazzo for their commitment, as well as that of their firm members.”

Ferlazzo said that the idea for the courtroom developed from a desire to inspire a new generation of students interested in law careers. One third of the lawyers employed by Girvin & Ferlazzo, P.C. are Siena alumni. Ferlazzo said, “We’re hoping that this will inspire a new generation of Girvin and Ferlazzo’s.”

Girvin added that their time at Siena helped them become lawyers who value hard work and integrity, something he hopes will continue. “We hope that current and future students will gain hands-on experiences and learn from talented professors who will prepare them to become skilled, client-centered attorneys,” Girvin said.

Siena College President Fr. Kevin Mullen ’75, O.F.M., Ph.D. praised Girvin and Ferlazzo’s dedication as alumni. “They recognize what they received and the great gift that they have given to us as a college is that they have given back in a manner that is at the core of our academic mission,” said Mullen.

During the regional Mock Trial competition at Boston College from February 22-24, Siena’s Honorable James P. King Moot Court Team, led by Co-Captains Christine Armstrong ’13 and Mara Afzali ’14, earned a bid to this month’s national competition in Easton, Pa. In a field of 26 schools, including Brown University, New York University and Princeton University, Siena College’s team tied for seventh place. Team members also won four individual awards, which is more than any other team in the tournament.

The team will practice for Nationals in the new courtroom, which will allow them to become even better prepared for national competition.

“If you can practice in here in front of all of the different judges and attorneys that come in … you’re ready for competition,” said Afzali.

Armstrong concurred, adding that a courtroom can often be “unnerving” to newcomers. “There’s no way to simulate the feeling you get from being in a courtroom except for being in a courtroom,” Armstrong said.

The Girvin & Ferlazzo Moot Courtroom ribbon-cutting ceremony took place during the ninth annual Capital Region Lawyers’ Reception to support Siena College’s Jurist-in-Residence program. The event is underwritten each year by Girvin & Ferlazzo, allowing the proceeds to be added to the program’s endowment, which is now more than $186,000.

Retired Supreme Court Justice of New York the Honorable Patrick Monserrate serves as Siena's Distinguished Jurist-in-Residence. Monserrate had a 30-year career of dedicated public service.


 


Contact: Ken Jubie
Contact E-mail: communications@siena.edu

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