The Law School Currently Sponsors Three Mock Trial Teams. Which one is right for you?
The National Trial Team Competition Team
Founded in 1975, the National Trial Competition is one of the premier advocacy team competitions in the United States. Co-sponsored by the American College of Trial Lawyers (ACTL) and the Texas Young Lawyers Association, the competition typically attracts over 1,000 competitors each year. Unique to the National Trial Competition, the fictional problem used by competitors alternates each year from a civil fact pattern to a criminal fact pattern.
The National Trial Competition team is coached by alumni Ben Beasley (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Ashley Bond (email@example.com). This year's competitors are: Madison Buchness, Annemarie Duerr, Perneita Farrar, J.J. Lucido, Kristin McManus, Garrett Mooney, Alexandra Oyston, Kevin Reinoso, William Sasse, Kylie Tejara and Spencer Yaffe.
In the fall semester, students receive instruction and rigorously prepare for the competition; in the spring, students continue to practice and attend the regional competition held in early February at American University School of Law. Students may earn one academic credit for each semester for successful completion of all academic requirements.
To qualify for the National Trial Competition team, students must have taken and passed Evidence or be enrolled in an Evidence course during the fall semester and maintain a 2.8 GPA. Tryouts consist of an application, a brief interview to learn about the student, and a mock opening or closing statement based on a fictional problem.
Once selected on the team, the fall semester is spent reviewing the trial scripts, learning the rules of evidence, and conducting mock arguments. The spring semester focuses on preparing for the regional competition with weekend practices. These practices will involve "live witnesses" (outside students who have not studied the fact pattern), similarly to what the students will encounter at competition.
The two top teams from the February competition advance to the national competition in May, which takes place in Texas. Recently, UBalt placed as a semi-finalist team in 2015 and 2016.
Constance Baker Motley Trial Team Competition
Named after the first African American female federal judge, the Constance Baker Motley Trial Team competition is sponsored by the National Black Law Students Association. UBalt has proudly participated in NBLSA's trial competitions for many years.
Each year, UBalt Law students who have been dues-paying members of BLSA the prior year compete in a tryout process in early fall to be selected to a four-person team. If chosen for this honor, students receive two academic credits. To prepare for the competition, students diligently work with their coaches to develop and practice trial skills, such as giving opening and closing statements, conducting direct and cross-examinations, and preparing witnesses.
UBalt's team competes each year in the spring Mid-Atlantic BLSA Competition for the regional championship. The top three teams then advance to the national BLSA competition. Advocates are evaluated on their overall courtroom presence, command of the Federal Rules of Evidence and Civil Procedure, teamwork, and timeliness and accuracy of objections. Each trial lasts approximately 2.5 hours.
The coaches for the 2020-21 academic year are Professor Odeana Neal and UBalt Law alumna Sameerah Mickey, J.D. '19.
This year’s competitors are: Autumn Lee, Jaelin Ali, Parker Imani Payne, and Sam Scales.
The American Association of Justice Trial Team
The American Association for Justice (AAJ) describes its mission as promoting “justice and fairness for injured persons, safeguards victims’ rights—particularly the right to trial by jury—and strengthen[ing] the civil justice system through education and disclosure of information critical to public health and safety.” AAJ believes that one of the most effective long-term methods for achieving its mission is to assure that the nation’s upcoming lawyers are effective advocates. The intent of the AAJ’s trial team program is to provide an opportunity for student lawyers to hone their trial skills through a national competition.
The AAJ trial team competition always involves a civil matter. The subject of past competitions includes: a child paralyzed after being struck by a drunk driver; a young woman unable to have children because of an alleged medical mistake; a person denied a promotion due to alleged racial discrimination; an elderly man injured due the alleged negligence of a nursing home; and a community whose water supply allegedly was contaminated by a local manufacturer.
Prof. John Singer will be coaching this year’s team, and the competitors are: Anuam Cheema, Curtis Paul, Eliza McDermott, and Luke Needleman.
The case file for the 2021 competition is scheduled for release in mid-December 2020. The regional rounds will be in March 2021 and the national finals will be in April 2021. Due to the pandemic, all of the 2021 STAC will be conducted virtually. Beyond gaining trial experience, an additional benefit of competing in the STAC program is that the Law School provides each team member with a student membership in the AAJ.