Mar 13, 2014

School of Law student earns ‘Best Defense Advocate’ title at national mock trial competition

VERMILLION, S.D. -- Swapna Kilani, a third-year law student at the University of South Dakota School of Law, was honored as Best Defense Advocate at the 2014 Capitol City Challenge held in Washington D.C. recently.

The Capitol City Challenge, hosted by American University, is a prestigious mock trial competition consisting of the top trial schools in the nation. The USD School of Law team participating at the Capitol City Challenge included third-year law students Kilani, Jen deHueck and Shane Andrews; and second-year law student Andy Fick. The USD trial team is coached by law school faculty Tom Horton, associate professor of law, and Michael McKey. The competition featured teams from the Georgetown University Law Center, University of Virginia School of Law, William & Mary Law School and Temple University Beasley School of Law.

Kilani scored 68 (out of a possible 75) to place first overall as the USD School of Law team defeated Widener University (the University of Delaware’s School of Law) in the opening round of the competition. This is the second time in five years that a USD law student has been honored as Best Defense Advocate at the Capitol City Challenge (Alex Hagen won it in 2010). Her co-counsel, Andrews, scored a 66 to earn a tie for third place. A photo of Kilani and Andrews is available for download at

“We could not be prouder of Swapna, Shane, Jen and Andrew. Their outstanding performances against such top teams directly resulted from their hard work and dedication over the past several months,” stated Horton, who thanked the South Dakota Trial Lawyers’ Association for their support of the USD School of Law’s trial teams. 

About The School of Law

The University of South Dakota School of Law provides a high-quality legal education that prepares students for leadership in the administration of justice in South Dakota and for success in private practice, public service, business and other law-related endeavors anywhere. For information about the USD School of Law, please contact Interim Associate Dean John Glover at or (605) 677-5393(605) 677-5393.

About The University of South Dakota
Founded in 1862, The University of South Dakota is designated as the only public liberal arts university in the state and is home to a comprehensive College of Arts and Sciences, School of Education, School of Health Sciences, the state's only School of Law, School of Medicine, the accredited Beacom School of Business and the College of Fine Arts. USD has an enrollment of more than 10,000 students taught by more than 400 faculty members. More information is available at

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Peter Carrels
The University of South Dakota
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