Law School Team Advances to NBLSA Mock Trial National Finals

March 18, 2009

On the heels of a regional win last month, a team of Law School students is competing this week in the national finals of the Thurgood Marshall Mock Trial Competition, a contest sponsored by the National Black Law Students Association.

Mock Trial
From left, Jordan McKay, Stephen Anthony and Saira Karim

The team consists of third-year student Stephen Anthony and second-year students Saira Karim, Erin Crowgey and Jordan McKay.

Professor Molly Bishop Shadel, who judged a practice round for the team, said the students' victory is due to "a combination of hard work and raw talent."

"They've spent hours in intensive, thorough practice sessions designed to hone their skills, and those hours have paid off. I'm not surprised by their win — but I am impressed by it," Shadel said.

The students won the regional championship Feb. 19 in Philadelphia to advance to the finals, which begin Wednesday in Irvine, Calif.

"It's going to be a tough week of practice, but I think we'll be ready for the competition," Anthony said last week. "We're debriefing from the regional competition to see where we need to get the most work in, and of course making any modifications to the theme and theory and strategy based on the new problem."

In the competition, the team is given a set of facts about a hypothetical case, and team members assume the role of prosecutors, witnesses or defense counsel, Anthony said.

Their case at the regional competition involved charges filed after a fictitious hazing incident at a college.

"It was a criminal case. There were three charges: misdemeanor hazing, aggravated kidnapping and aggravated assault," Anthony said. "It was a frat where perhaps the president got a little out of hand."

The event organizers modified the same question for the national competition, Anthony said.

"What was an aggravated assault is now a murder, and there were some other modifications on the law," he said.

Anthony said the team also benefited from preparing with four coaches from the Judge Advocate General's Legal Center and School. The team's rounds begin on Thursday.

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