Diverse Creighton Teams Compete in ABA Regional
Diverse Creighton Teams Compete in ABA Regional

ABA Competition Team

Pictured (left to right): Lauren Camp, Leslie Espino, Samantha Sahawneh, Kate Hollenbeck, Rachel Lee, and Michelle Zornes.

Diverse Creighton Teams Compete in ABA Regional

Three all-female teams represented Creighton at the American Bar Association (ABA) Regional Client Counseling Competition in Lincoln, Neb., last month. Team members were Lauren Camp, Leslie Espino, Samantha Sahawneh, Kate Hollenbeck, Rachel Lee and Michelle Zornes, all of whom are 2L students.

The teams qualified through an intramural contest held in the fall, and then participated in two months of practice rounds and mini-classes to prepare for regionals. Typically the ABA invites the top two teams, but this year all three Creighton teams were allowed to compete.

Creighton Law professors Catherine Brooks, Edward Birmingham and Larry Teply served as coaches. Two other faculty members, the Rev. Greg O’Meara, S.J., and Kenneth Melilli, also helped prepare the students, as did David Stickman, federal public defender for the District of Nebraska, and the Hon. Vernon Daniels, judge of the Separate Juvenile Court of Douglas County, Neb., and former Legal Aid attorney and county attorney for the Juvenile Court.  

The theme of the regional competition was criminal law and criminal procedure. The ABA provided regional teams with single sentence memos 10 days in advance of the competition. These memos and the theme are all that students know prior to competing. 

“These six women are from very different backgrounds, with very different paths to law school,” said Professor Edward Birmingham. “They are all promising law students who model the values that we support here at Creighton.”

Sahawneh, whose strong skills as an advocate and a counselor, and Espino, who is fluent in Spanish, advanced to the final round of the competition and placed second. 

Espino noted that the competition provided a valuable opportunity “… to work together and practice fundamental skills necessary for successful attorneys.”

All six Creighton law students were appreciative of the experience.

“Participating in the client counseling competition prepared me to interact with my future clients in a more meaningful and ethical way,” Hollenbeck said.