November 13, 2020 at 3:58 pm

OHIO Mock Trial Competes at Brandeis Invitational, Four Receive Honorable Mentions

Virtual mock trial practice

Virtual mock trial practice

After spending the first part of the semester putting their cases together for trial and honing their trial advocacy skills, the Ohio University Mock Trial Team competed at the 15th Annual Justice Louis D. Brandeis Invitational on November 7-8 at Brandeis University. The tournament was conducted virtually over Zoom.   This is the first virtual invitational tournament that the team has participated in this season.

Ohio Mock Trial’s two teams competed in four different trials over the weekend.  Each side of the case, the prosecution and the defense, performed once over the course of two days.

Mock Trial President Ellen Gill shares, “I am so pleased with our teams’ ability to learn over a virtual platform and then present at the caliber expected when we are physically in a courtroom. All of our team members acted in accordance with their extensive preparation, dedication, and studiousness. I am so proud of the cases we put forth together.” Gill is a junior studying English Pre-Law and Sociology-Criminology with a Certificate in Law, Justice & Culture.

Due to the virtual platform, students were able to utilize the chat function to interact between co-counsels, virtual backgrounds to enhance characters, and shared-screen capabilities to share exhibit documents. This format provided excellent experience working in a virtual environment while practicing law.

Vice President Micaela Beatham-Garcia, a third-year student majoring in Political Science Pre-Law and Global Studies, explains, “Although our team was nervous about the transition to a platform this year, I was thrilled to see how well our team not only adapted to the environment, but excelled!”

During the closing ceremony, four Ohio University Mock Trial competitors were mentioned for outstanding attorney and witness awards based on rankings given by trial judges. Two attorneys, Diamond Brooks and Ellen Gill, were honored with nine ranks each. Two witnesses, Ali Gucwa and Jorden Milliken, were honored with ten ranks each.

This will be the first virtual tournament of many for the team and provided invaluable experience in competing against other highly competitive teams. The feedback given by judges will drive the Mock Trial program in the coming weeks to present an even stronger case.

“For our first competition, I am beyond impressed by the performance of our team!” Mock Treasurer, Ali Gucwa writes, “If this is our jumping off point, I can’t wait to see what the future holds! Competing is a huge learning experience and what we saw this weekend will be extremely helpful in refining our cases.” Ali Gucwa is a junior studying Environmental Pre-Law and Political Science.

About Mock Trial

Ohio University Mock Trial consists of two teams—Green Team and White Team—each composed of 10 students. Each student was required to tryout for the team. The organization provides students with an interest in law the valuable experience of working with and preparing a case in a competitive courtroom setting.

The teams are required to prepare the case that they are provided by the American Mock Trial Association. This year, more than 600 teams from 350 colleges and universities in the United States will participate in AMTA’s tournaments. Each team member is assigned a part as either an attorney or a witness. Attorneys are required to develop a case theory, as well as developing direct and cross examination questions, creating opening statements and closing arguments, as well as learning the case law and rules of evidence. Witnesses are given the task of creating a character from the case and working with their attorney to develop their character and testimony.

The team is coached by CLJC Pre-Law Advisor Larry Hayman, Esq.

Preparation for Competition

In order to prepare for the 15th Annual Justice Louis D. Brandeis Invitational, the two teams scrimmaged against one another on Saturday, Oct. 31. This scrimmage was judged by two Ohio University alumni attorneys, Amy Flowers, Esq. and Sarah Welch, Esq., herself an alumni of the Center for Law, Justice & Culture and the mock trial team. Both provided key insight and critique for the teams to consider prior to competing.

New Member Coordinator Jane Roche, a second-year Political Science Pre-Law and Law, Justice & Culture Certificate student  is enthusiastic about competition and said, “Our judges provided us excellent feedback to help us fine tune our cases. Being able to run our cases in front of alumnae gives us the opportunity to hear their perspective and tweak our cases before presenting at an invitational!”


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