Mock trial

UD Mock Trial team sweeps regional, heads to championship series

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1:59 p.m., March 15, 2013--The University of Delaware Mock Trial team will advance to the American Mock Trial Association’s (AMTA) Opening Round Championship Series Tournament on March 23-24, after an impressive showing at the regional tournament. 

UD’s team competed against several other schools at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College on Feb. 16-17. The A team went undefeated at the competition, earning a bid to the next round. Although the B team will not move on to the next round, they were competitive at the meet, winning three of their ballots. 

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Going up against teams from Harvard University, Georgetown University, Patrick Henry College and La Salle University, the UD Mock Trial team achieved its most impressive results to date. 

“The students are doing an amazing job,” said Martin O’Connor, deputy attorney general in the Attorney General’s Office in Wilmington and coach of the UD Mock Trial team. “Their success is obviously a result of all their hard work.”

AMTA hosts several regional tournaments throughout the country in February. The top seven teams from each regional tournament move on to the Opening Round Championship Series Tournament. If UD’s Mock Trial team places among the top six teams in the opening round, they will move on to the National Championship Tournament in April. 

“We went into the regional tournament with pretty high hopes,” said junior Ryan Leonard, president of the team. “We knew that there would be some tough teams there but we managed to win every case.” 

The AMTA releases one case brief in the beginning of the year with which every team works throughout the competition season. 

This year’s case, released in August 2012, is a civil case involving a young couple on a scuba trip.

“One of them died on the trip so it’s a question of who acted recklessly,” said Andrew Donnelly, a sophomore political science major.  

The brief encompasses case details, witness statements, and rules of evidence. 

“Our job is to portray both the defense, the prosecution and witnesses in each case,” said Leonard.  

Both Leonard and Donnelly won awards at the regional competition, for best witness and best attorney, respectively. 

“The difference between the last competition and the upcoming competition is that the mock trial association changes the story a great deal so the students have to adjust to the changes,” said O’Connor. 

To accommodate the curveball, the team is following a rigorous practice schedule. 

“The modified version of the case is pretty different. We’re rebuilding things from the ground up and we will continue to practice every day,” said Leonard. 

Regardless of what happens in the opening round, the hard work of the mock trial team is rewarding.

“It offers the chance to develop a number of valuable skill sets such as public speaking and critical thinking,” said Donnelly. “It’s obviously beneficial if you are going into law but I think it’s good experience even if you aren’t.”

“It should be a good experience either way, we have a strong, young team,” he said.

Article by Kelley Bregenzer

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