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Press Release

Moot Court Teams Achieve High Honors at
National Latino Law Students Association Conference

Professor Robert Jones, left, with NLLSA Moot Court Best Oralist winner Stephanie Wiggins.

Professor Robert Jones, left, with NLLSA Moot Court best oralist Stephanie Wiggins.

October 28, 2015

DeKalb, Ill.-- Students from NIU College of Law excelled at the recent National Latino Law Students Association (NLLSA) conference and moot court competition in Chicago. NIU Law was one of 20 teams in the competition, along with teams from law schools at Northwestern University, the University of California-Irvine, the University of North Carolina, DePaul University, Loyola University Chicago, South Texas University, Brooklyn Law School, Florida Coastal School of Law, Texas Tech University, the University of New Mexico and Arizona State University.

NIU Law sent two teams to the competition. Brian Cunningham (3L) and Patricia Zimmerman (3L) advanced through the preliminary round and defeated Florida Coastal in the quarterfinals. In the semi-finals, they performed well before falling against Texas Tech for an impressive top-four finish.

Danesa Tamayo (3L) and Stephanie Wiggins (2L) were also dominant in the preliminary rounds. Wiggins earned the award for best oralist in the preliminary rounds. It is the third year in a row NIU Law has won the award for best oralist and the first time it has been won by an NIU second-year student. 

“I am so proud of Brian, Patti, Danesa, and Stephanie,” said Professor Robert Jones, who is the NIU Law LLSA faculty advisor and coach. “All four were outstanding advocates and competitors and both teams could have won the competition. They are a credit to NIU and it was my privilege to work with them. I would also like to thank Dean Mark Cordes for his sincere support of our students and NIU’s Latino Law Students Association,” he added.

Additionally, four NIU Law students were elected to positions on the national board of the NLLSA for the next year. Hanoch Zamora (2L) was elected attorney general; Stephanie Wiggins (2L) was elected director of National Relations; Claudia Cisneros (3L) was elected director of Policy Initiatives; and Gilberto Ruiz (3L) was elected director of Public Relations. 

NIU Law served as a co-host school for the conference, along with Northwestern and Loyola, and a number of NIU Law students played leading roles in the organization of the event. They included Claudia Cisneros (3L), Gilberto Ruiz (3L), Danesa Tamayo (3L), Hanoch Zamora (2L), Alejandro Cuautli (2L), and Christian Copple (2L). The conference also included presentations by NIU Law faculty Anita Maddali and Sheila Maloney; NIU Law Board of Visitors member Hon. Manuel Barbosa; and NIU Law alumni Hon. Mark J. Lopez (’83), Daniel Nunez (’11), Michael Martinez (’09), Rocio Becerril (’09), and Irakere Picón (’14).

The team was also helped by faculty Heidi Kuehl, Annie Mentkowski, Wendy Vaughn, and Jeanna Hunter; alumni Omar Salguero (’12) and Irakere Picón (’14); Rockford attorneys Sara Dady and Beth Hoffmann; and staff Julie Mahoney-Krzyzek, Christina Raguse, and LeAnn Baie.


For more information, contact:
Melody Mitchell
Alumni Events & Public Relations
(815) 753-9655 or

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