YLS Team Wins National Trial Competition Regional Title
For the first time since 2016, a team from Yale Law School advanced to the national championships of the country’s premier trial advocacy competition.
The team returned from the National Trial Competition finals in San Antonio, Texas, as a regional champion, taking home an Hon. Lewis F. Powell Medallion. The American College of Trial Lawyers and Texas Young Lawyers Association co-sponsor the annual competition, which took place March 29–April 2 this year. More than 1,000 law students take part annually, competing on more than 300 teams across 15 regions.
This year’s case involved a product liability suit against the manufacturer of a self-driving car. Yale Law School was represented by competitors Ryanne Bamieh ’23 and Nick Barile ’23. Even before the tournament, the pair shared a competitive history. In 2021, Bamieh and Barile — then 1Ls — faced one another in the Law School’s annual Thomas Swan Barristers’ Union Prize Trial. After each winning the top two prizes, Bamieh and Barile teamed up to reinvigorate the Law School’s external trial advocacy program.
Yale Law School’s program is distinctive in that it’s student-run, relying entirely on its students and part-time alumni volunteers. This year, Nathaniel “Nat” Warner ’21 served as the team’s head coach.
“Nick and Ryanne came into this program with a lot of talent and experience,” Warner said. “That meant we could spend the season focusing less on fundamentals and more on high-level questions about trial strategy and presentation — the stuff real trial lawyers think about.”
The pair’s strengths also complemented one another, according to Warner.
“Ryanne is better than anyone I’ve seen on objections, especially when it comes to excluding expert testimony,” Warner said. “And Nick’s ability to simplify these complex cases — particularly in jury addresses — is unmatched.”
That chemistry served the team well. In February, the Law School team went undefeated through the regional stage, earning Yale’s first appearance in the national championship since 2016.
Barile credited the team’s statements and cross-examinations.
“Nat taught us how, in a close trial, those unscripted moments are what win the day,” he said. “We struck some decisive blows on our crosses, and Ryanne’s closing in the Regional Final was impeccable.”
Bamieh, who hopes to become a public defender, agreed that their preparation was key to their success
“This has been great preparation for how to handle all the unpredictability that comes with a trial,” she said. “Our ability to adapt to creative case theories is really what carried us through the competition.”
The team acknowledged several individuals who made the season possible, including Bill Weber ’23, Zoe Li ’23, Logan Fairbourn ’23, Remington Hill ’25, and Connor Hollenback for their support and advice throughout the tournament. The team also expressed gratitude for the assistance of assistant coaches Clio Sophia Koller ’22, Ron Bamieh, Erica Arensman, Yale Law School Director of Student Affairs Rachelle Byron, and the staff of the Yale Law School Business Office. Financial support for the competition was provided by the Moses Harry Katcher Fund for Litigation Training and the team’s Gold Sponsor, Reichman Jorgensen Lehman & Feldberg LLP.