The Law School Currently Sponsors Three Mock Trial Teams. Which one is right for you?
Four members of the 2022 National Trial Team were chosen to compete in the 2022 Buffalo Niagara Trial Competition. Of 28 teams, they placed 2nd and Amanda Sirleaf (center, red jacket) was awarded 'Best Advocate.
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 Team Competition team is coached by Ashley Bond and Annemarie Duerr. This year’s competitors will be: Brice Litus, Kaitlin O’Dowd, Leah Dotter, Amanda Sirleaf, Aaminah Woods, Audreina Blanding, Yasmeen Ali, Ethan Greenberg, Niels Drury, Devante Jones, and Juan Mercedes.
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.
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.