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February 19, 2019 at 1:32 pm

OHIO Mock Trial Competes in Cincinnati, Brooks Wins Best Attorney Award

Group shot of Mock Trial team prior to competition at Xavier

Mock Trial team prior to competition at Xavier

The Ohio University Mock Trial team sent two teams to the American Mock Trial Regional Competition in Cincinnati the weekend of Feb. 9-10 with one student receiving an award for an outstanding performance during competition.

The competition took place at Xavier University, with each team competing in four trials over the course of the weekend. Sixteen students were divided into the White Team and the Green Team, each team responsible for preparing both a plaintiff and defense case. The students competed against teams from Miami University, Case Western Reserve University, University of Dayton, Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis, and Georgetown College in Kentucky.

Diamond Brooks won a Best Attorney Award

Diamond Brooks won a Best Attorney Award

At the conclusion of the weekend new mock trial member Diamond Brooks, a freshman Honors Tutorial College student studying Political Science, received a Best Attorney Award for her role as White Team’s Opening Defense Attorney. Diamond tied for the highest rated attorney in the competition.

The team received the case in September and has been working on it since that time. This year’s case was a civil trial between Midlands Television Studios and defendant Danny Kosack. During a rehearsal for Midlands Television Studios show Midlands After Dark, Danny Kosack’s performance chimpanzee attacked and killed writer Chris Villafana. The parties were suing each other over who was responsible for the attack.

Each year the case is designed to allow either side to win the case so that it is on the students to present the best case possible. The students collaborated for many hours each week in order to develop the case.

Mock Trial returning member Jada Sparks, who is majoring in Political Science and pursuing a certificate in Law, Justice & Culture, said that she joined mock trial because she knew it would give her a glance at what her career could look like.

“I want to become a trial lawyer, and mock trial has helped me comprehend the work that an attorney must put in to prepare for a trial, and a firsthand experience of law in practice. It also prepares you ahead of time for material you would learn in law school, such as the rules of evidence,” Sparks said.

New to the Mock Trial team this year, Freshman English Pre-Law major Ellen Gill was able to use some of her experience from high school mock trial to help her in competition.

“There’s a different standard in college mock trial than high school mock trial. All of the teams were so good, and I felt as though all of our trials were equally matched. There’s a very high caliber of teams at regional competitions,” Gill said.

Mock Trial helps students to develop a number of skills that are not limited to the law. Students learn to think critically, develop public speaking skills, gain experience in professionalism, and develop interpersonal skills. Gill said, “This competition taught me to adapt to challenging situations and strengthen my confidence. I know that I knew the material, but I learned to think on my feet to apply it.”

During the trials team members have roles as witnesses and attorneys. Attorneys work with their witnesses to develop direct examinations, and cross-examinations. Attorneys are also responsible for opening and closing statements as well as preparing to argue objections. Witnesses are responsible for knowing their respective affidavits and for working with their attorney to develop a character.

“Mock trial competitions are helpful to anyone who wants to play a role in a courtroom someday,” Sparks added. “Whether you are a witness or an attorney, you are engaging in a realistic trial, with real attorneys as your judges. It is both nerve-wracking and exciting, but it pushes you to do your best and overcome your nerves. I think after each trial, I became more confident than I was before.”

The team is coached by Center for Law Justice & Culture Pre-Law Specialist Larry Hayman. Tryouts for the 2019-20 will occur in Fall 2019, and interested students should sign up for the CLJC Newsletter by emailing Hayman at hayman@ohio.edu.

 

 

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