Mock Trial Team Takes Regionals, Heads to Nationals
In its second year of competition, the Law School’s Mock Trial Team won the National Trial Competition for the DC, Maryland, and Virginia region on February 12. Robert Boller ’05, Patrick Dempsey ’06, and Daniel Shapiro ’05 next head for the National Championships in San Antonio, held on March 30–April 2.
The National Trial Competition is open to all ABA-accredited law schools in the United States and is co-sponsored by the American College of Trial Lawyers, which represents the top one percent of trial lawyers nationwide. This year, 270 teams competed, representing 135 law schools around the country. Teams compete in regional qualifying rounds, and the top two teams from each of the 13 regions are invited to San Antonio. Other schools heading to Texas include Harvard, Northwestern, and William & Mary.
“We are particularly proud of our win,” said team president Daniel Shapiro, “because most of the schools we are competing against in DC were there as part of a class, while the UVA team is entirely extracurricular.”
The competition consists of two- or three-person teams arguing complete trials before a judge and jurors. The Mid-Atlantic regional drew 22 teams from 11 law schools, including Georgetown and George Washington Universities. The trial judges were local federal and state judges, and the jury pool was made up of attorneys from the DC-area.
This year’s case involved a complicated murder prosecution with two plausible suspects in the crime. The Law School sent two three-person teams and both advanced to the semifinal round, but the team of third-year students Ryan Perry, Charles Stopher, and Dave Thomas lost their round because they were “forced to argue the more difficult side of the case,” Shapiro said.