Building upon a string of successes in recent years, the Roger Williams University Mock Trial team will make another run at the national title at the American Mock Trial Association's national opening round championships on March 23 and 24.
After a strong showing at the association's Regional Qualifying Tournament – the team placed sixth, besting teams from schools including Princeton and The U.S. Coast Guard Academy, among others – RWU will join teams from Brown, Harvard, University of Pennsylvania, St. John’s University and King’s College to compete against the best in the U.S. at Drexel University in Philadelphia.
Two team members from Roger Williams – sophomore Macy Miller and freshman Alyse Antone – were named All Regional Best Attorney, while senior Kara Moreau earned All Regional Best Witness at the regional qualifier hosted at the Roger Williams University School of Law in February. Local attorneys and current law students served as judges at the tournament, many of whom were alumni from both the School of Justice Studies and the School of Law.
“The collaboration between the School of Law and the undergraduate campus in this event was extremely successful,” says team coach and advisor Lisa Newcity. “It provided a wonderful opportunity to both showcase our law school to this group of very talented pre-law students and to involve our alumni in another on-campus event.”
This year’s national competition will be a repeat appearance for the RWU team, which competed at the National Opening Round Championship in 2010 – where they earned an honorable mention and individual best attorney and best witness awards – followed by a second strong performance in 2011 that garnered a Spirit of AMTA honorable mention (for the team that best reflects the principles of civility and ethics) as well as individual best attorney and best witness awards.
In addition to the excitement of competing, mock trial presents students with the opportunity to engage in what Newcity calls “a participatory study of the United States legal system – advocacy, rules of procedure, lawyering skills and legal ethics.” It also encourages critical thinking and teamwork.
“You have to memorize everything and you have to think on your feet,” explains team co-captain Kara Moreau, a legal studies and political science major. “My friends who have graduated and gone on to law school have said that trial advocacy classes or general evidentiary classes become a lot easier because mock trial has taught you those basics already.”
According to Newcity, the team will prepare for nationals with weekly practice sessions, including making necessary adjustments to the witness lineups and/or case theories based on the American Mock Trial Association’s changes to the case. A scrimmage with at least one other New England mock trial team will round out the RWU team’s training.
The RWU Mock Trial Team members represent the School of Justice Studies, the Feinstein College of Arts and Sciences and the Mario J. Gabelli School of Business. Competing at the 2012 National Opening Round Championship will be:
- Kara Moreau ’13 (Captain); Legal Studies, Political Science
- Luis Vargas ’15 (Captain); Legal Studies
- Timothy Shannon ’13; Legal Studies, History
- Macy Miller ’15; Business Management
- Alyse Antone ’16; Legal Studies, Political Science
- Hailey Bathurst ’15; Legal Studies, Political Science
- Mackenzie Brennan ’15; Creative Writing, Classical Languages
- Jillian Connery ’16; Legal Studies, Political Science