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Students Compete in the 2024 Gressman & Riccio Competitions

Raquelle Rocco ‘26 and Melissa McGloin ‘26

Riccio Competition Finalists: Raquelle Rocco ‘26 (winner) and Melissa McGloin ‘26

To help merge theoretical knowledge with practical advocacy, Seton Hall Law provides students with the opportunity to compete in two intra-school moot court competitions to sharpen their oral advocacy skills: the Eugene Gressman Appellate Moot Court Competition and the Ronald J. Riccio Moot Court Competition.


Eugene Gressman Appellate Moot Court Competition

Presiding Judges

The Honorable Robert Kirsch, The Honorable Rachel Wainer Apter, and The Honorable Michael Noriega.

The Eugene Gressman Appellate Moot Court Competition is Seton Hall's “March Madness style” intra-scholastic appellate moot court competition, open to daytime and weekend upperclassmen. After writing a brief on two legal issues not yet resolved by the Supreme Court, students partner to argue in several oral argument rounds. This year’s problem concerned an incarcerated person’s rights under the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and RLUIPA. Over  thirty teams began the competition in February, and only two teams remained for the final arguments, held on April 3, 2024, in the Seton Hall Law DeCotiis Moot Court Room. The presiding judges over the Final Arguments were: The Honorable Robert Kirsch, United States District Judge for the District of New Jersey; The Honorable Rachel Wainer Apter, Associate Justice for the New Jersey Supreme Court; and The Honorable Michael Noriega, Associate Justice for the New Jersey Supreme Court.


Gressman Directors

Professor Lara Pennington, Faculty Director; Alexandra Franchino, Gressman Director; and Katie Considine, Assistant Gressman Director

Gressman Student Director Alexandra Franchino ’24 stated, “In my role as Gressman Director, I was responsible for writing the record on appeal and the bench memorandum, as well as coordinating judges for all seven rounds of oral argument. I recommend all students to participate in the Gressman Competition because it teaches important skills of advocacy, teamwork, public speaking, analytical writing, and ‘thinking on your feet.’ It is such a fun and rewarding experience, providing the opportunity to get crucial practice, networking exposure, and even accolades.”


Finalists (Winners): Casey Morrison, Elika Mohebbi

Finalists (Winners): Casey Morrison & Elika Mohebbi (Petitioners)

This year’s finalists were Casey Morrison and Elika Mohebbi (Petitioners), and Shea Moran and Emma Valiante (Respondents). The winning team was Casey Morrison ‘25 and Elika Mohebbi ‘25 . The winners of the competition are extended an invitation to join the Interscholastic Moot Court Board. Finalists and Semi-Finalists may be considered to join at the Director's discretion This year’s awards included:


•  Best Brief Petitioner: Maureen Camacho & Tanya Panossian-Lesser
•  Best Brief Respondent: Casey Morrison & Elika Mohebbi
•  Best Oralist Petitioner: Timothy Knapp
•  Best Oralist Respondent: Emme Anderson


Finalists: Shea Moran & Emma Valiante

Finalists: Shea Moran & Emma Valiante (Respondents)

Casey Morrison opined, “I recommend students to participate in Gressman to discover what you are capable of. With each argument, I improved and got more comfortable arguing before a panel of judges. This competition has improved my oral advocacy skills immensely.” She continued, “Alex Franchino, Katie Considine, the judges who provided feedback after each round, and Professor Hudson were instrumental in helping me learn how to answer questions effectively and make the most persuasive argument as possible.”


“Gressman is an amazing way to hone your oral skills. You get feedback consistently on how to better present before a panel of judges,” said Elika Mohebbi. “You learn how to effectively work as a team both when writing and when arguing. I learned how to be quick on my feet and I perfected my pacing through this experience.”


Ronald J. Riccio First Year Moot Court Competition

The Ronald J. Riccio First Year Moot Court Competition invites first-year students to participate in an intra-school contest to develop oral advocacy skills. Held throughout the spring semester, the competition provides students with a closed problem containing facts and relevant case law. Students then craft arguments in preparation for the two preliminary rounds.


The 2024 competition was organized by James Finnegan ‘24, a former Riccio champion, and Professor Jodi Hudson, Director of the Interscholastic Moot Court Board. For James, “Helping Professor Hudson run the Riccio competition this year was much like the whole of my experience on the Moot Court Board: challenging, fun, and rewarding.”


In January, over 60 students argued in the initial rounds. Each student received individualized feedback from the judges, who offered valuable tips on presentation skills, persuasion techniques, and case law analysis. The top 32 students advanced to the knockout rounds, competing head-to-head with the winners advancing. After the Sweet 16, Elite 8, and Final 4, the championship was held on April 11.


Raquelle Rocco ‘26 and Melissa McGloin ‘26 were the finalists, showcasing their advocacy in the Larson Auditorium before a large crowd of students, family, and professors. “I watched many of the rounds and can say that there were a lot of talented oralists this year,” remarked James. “Raquelle and Melissa should both be really proud of reaching the final and putting on stellar performances when they got here.”


After impressive ten-minute arguments and glowing feedback from the judges, Raquelle was named the champion. Reflecting on her experience, Raquelle said: “The past two months participating in Riccio have taught me so much and challenged me both personally and professionally in ways I’ve never thought possible. I am honored to be named winner!”


Melissa shared Raquelle’s gratefulness for the competition, explaining, “Not only have I learned the importance of oral advocacy, but Riccio has also taught me a lot about myself and introduced me to some amazing people.” She continued, “I never thought I would make it to the finals,” but cherished “the loud cheers of her classmates in the crowd” and “couldn’t be prouder for Raquelle.”


Both Raquelle and Melissa, along with the semi-finalists quarterfinalists, will join Seton Hall Law’s prestigious Interscholastic Moot Court Board next year. The team is ranked  #10 nationally after numerous successful competitions across the country throughout the year. With the help of its new members who learned the power of oral persuasion from participating in Riccio, the Moot Court Board’s success is certain to continue.

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  • Seton Hall Law School