Philip Pasquarello of Drexel University Kline School of Law wins the 2018 Top Gun National Mock Trial Competition.

June 8, 2018

Philip Pasquarello of Drexel University Kline School of Law wins the 2018 Top Gun National Mock Trial Competition.

Phillip Pasquarello emphatically makes a point in a business suit, pointing toward the evidence

The 2018 Top Gun, Philip Pasquarello, makes a point during the final round of the 2018 Top Gun National Mock Trial Competition. Runner-up, Eric Fleddermann, foreground, takes notes.

Philip Pasquarello of Drexel University Kline School of Law was declared the winner of Baylor Law's 2018 Top Gun National Mock Trial Competition on June 3rd in Waco, Texas. Pasquarello persuaded a jury of experienced trial attorneys to return a verdict in his favor at the end of the competition's intense final round, beating out runner-up, Eric Fleddermann of University of Michigan Law School. In addition to bragging rights as 'Top Gun,' Pasquarello won the grand $10,000 prize, and an addition $1,000 prize for also winning the damages portion of the competition.

Youtube button for watching video of the final round

Baylor Law's Top Gun National Mock Trial Competition is the nation's most prestigious, invitation-only mock trial tournament. The 16 best advocates chosen from the nation's top trial advocacy schools compete head-to-head in a four-day, winner-takes-all tournament. As the host, Baylor Law students do not compete.

"This is the best mock trial competition in high school, college or law school. This is the one I look forward to every year, and to be the winner of the competition is surreal," Stated Pasquerello after being declared the 2018 Top Gun, and added, "This is a competition that's not like any other competition, not only the short preparation time, but the nature of the case is very near to a real case."

Philip Pasquarello receives his award for Top Gun from Judge Albright and Professor Powell

Honorable Alan D. Albright, recently nominated as U.S. District Judge of the Western District of Texas, Waco Division (Left); Baylor Law Professor Gerald R. Powell (Right) present the 2018 Top Gun award to Philip Pasquarello (center)./p>

Challenging and innovative rules set the Top Gun competition apart from other national other mock trials. Competitors are not able to prepare for the case prior to the start of the competition. Once they arrive at Baylor Law, the competitors are given a case file and only 24 hours to prepare before competing in the first rounds. The case packets contain depositions, records, photographs, and videos. Witnesses are provided and the competitors have only a short period of time to work with and prepare them, for the round. As the tournament progresses, new pieces of evidence or additional witnesses are introduced, further challenging the competitors. The jurors for each round are practicing trial lawyers and justices. The presiding judge in the semi-final round of the competition was Baylor Lawyer of the Year Honorable J. Rodney Gilstrap, Chief District Judge of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas. The presiding judge in the final round was the Honorable Alan D. Albright, recently nominated as U.S. District Judge of the Western District of Texas, Waco Division.

This year's fictitious case, with facts created by faculty and staff at Baylor Law, focused on a trade dispute between two Waco breweries – Bare Arms Brewery and Brotherwell Brewing. Both are producing a wildly popular beer derived from a secret family recipe using unique ingredients that abound in Central Texas – cedar and prickly pear cactus. But Brotherwell is a late-comer to this scene and has taken over the market. Bare Arms is alleging that Brotherwell stole their trade secret recipe that's the key to Brotherwell's success. Brotherwell, of course, claims that there was no trade secret and that they legitimately bought their recipe from a different family member – they're doing better than Bare Arms simply because their beer is better. In the final round, Fledderman represented the plaintiff, Bare Arms Brewery, and Pasquarello successfully represented the defendant, Brotherwell.

Gerald R. Powell, the Abner V. McCall Professor of Evidence Law at Baylor Law and one of the drivers of the creation of the Top Gun Competition, stated, "I'm very proud of the Baylor team. From law students who did such diverse tasks as drafting witness depositions to playing witness roles to driving competitors back and forth from the hotel; from faculty members who consulted with us on the law or played the role of witnesses in the trials; from staff who created beautiful still and video images to those who provided good old-fashioned Texas hospitality; this was a wonderful team effort. I feel so lucky to work with them."

Full graphic of sponsors of Top Gun Mock Trial Competition

The 2018 Top Gun National Mock Trial Competition was underwritten by Naman, Howell, Smith & Lee, PLLC, and sponsored by Weinberg Wheeler Hudgins Gunn & Dial. Thank you to T-Bones Barbecue and TrialPad for their support during the competition.

The Top Gun runner up, Eric Fledderman, argues strongly in his mock trial presentation

Top Gun runner-up, Eric Fleddermann of University of Michigan Law School, makes a point during the final round.

Baylor Law also congratulates the 2018 Top Gun semi-finalists, Jordan Dickson from Georgetown University Law Center, and Pablo Robles from UC Hastings College of Law. Zach McCamey from Wake Forest University School of Law received the Professionalism Award, and Samford University, Cumberland School of Law's, Stephanie Gushlaw and Craig Shirley (second chair) won the Courtroom Technology Award.

Baylor Law School gives a special thanks to Bare Arms Brewery and Brotherwell Brewing for their support. While the facts in this case are entirely fictional, Bare Arms and Brotherwell were incredible partners in making this year's case a reality.

Thanks to sponsors Bear Arms and Brotherwell graphic

Serving on the jury for the final round was Marianne Auld of Kelly Hart & Hallman LLP, Derek Gilliland of Nix Patterson & Roach LLP, Mark Mann of the Mann Firm, Ben Selman of Naman, Howell, Smith & Lee, PLLC, and Britta Stanton of Lynn Pinker Cox Hurst, LLP.

The 2018 Top Gun National Mock Trial Competitors Were:

American University Washington College of Law - Alex Raby

Chicago-Kent College of Law - Ashur Youash

Drexel University Thomas R. Kline School of Law - Philip Pasquarello

Georgetown University Law Center - Jordan Dickson

Loyola Law School Los Angeles - Abigail Hudson

Maurice A. Deane School of Law Hofstra University - Dylan Nesturrick

Samford University Cumberland School of Law - Craig Shirley

Stetson University College of Law - Joseph Sise

Syracuse University College of Law - Christopher Clark

Temple University Beasley School of Law - Rosemary Cochrane

The University of Akron School of Law - Cassandra Rosa

University of California Berkeley Law - - Brandon Hughes

UC Hastings College of the Law - Pablo Wudka-Robles

University of Georgia School of Law - Lauren Lutton

University of Michigan Law School - Eric Fleddermann

Wake Forest University School of Law - Zachary L. McCamey

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Established in 1857, Baylor Law was one of the first law schools in Texas and one of the first west of the Mississippi River. Today, the school has more than 7,400 living alumni. It is accredited by the American Bar Association and is a member of the Association of American Law Schools. Baylor Law has a record of producing outstanding lawyers, many of whom decide upon a career in public service. Baylor Law boasts two governors, members or former members of the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, two former directors of the FBI, U.S. ambassadors, federal judges, justices of the Texas Supreme Court and members of the Texas Legislature among its notable alumni. In its law specialties rankings, U.S. News & World Report ranked Baylor Law's trial advocacy program as one of the top 5 in the nation. Baylor Law School is also ranked #50 in the magazine's 2019 edition of "America's Best Graduate Schools." The National Jurist ranks Baylor Law as one of the "Best School for Practical Training," and #4 in the nation in its most recent "Best Law School Facilities" listing. The Business Insider places Baylor Law among the top 50 law schools in the nation. Baylor Law School received the 2015 American Bar Association Pro Bono Publico Award, making it only the third law school in the nation to be honored with the award since the award's inception in 1984. Learn more at

Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 17,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions. Learn more at

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