Advocacy Program Celebrates Nationwide Success

October 28, 2016

The Texas A&M University School of Law Advocacy Program is celebrating recent victories from mock trial, negotiation and dispute resolution competitions from the East to West Coast.

Adv-Anderson-Oct2016Elizabeth Anderson

2L Elizabeth Anderson won Best Direct Examination at the Lone Star Classic Mock Trial Competition in San Antonio on Oct. 13-15. This is the law school’s first individual mock trial award.

“I am humbled and proud, but especially thrilled for the school,” she said. “We want to elevate our competitiveness in ​mock ​trial and become a known, respected trial advocacy program.”

Anderson and her teammates 3Ls Ashu Balimba, Greg Franklin and Jessica Lesnau were coached by Justice Lee Gabriel, who is also the mock trial coordinator. This award follows a new 18-hour summer training program implemented by Justice Gabriel this year.

This was Anderson’s first mock trial competition, and although she has experience in public speaking, she said she had a lot to learn. 

“I practiced about 120 hours between Aug. 22 and Oct. 12,” she said. “Nothing works better than constant rehearsal and repetition; Justice Gabriel emphasized the value of practicing each element (direct, cross examination, opening, and closing) as though it was the real thing.”

She said this made a huge difference in her learning and delivery.

Heathman, Chang and ManigrassoJonathan Heathman, Diny Chang and Paul Manigrasso

The team of 2Ls Diny Chang and Paul Manigrasso, and 3L Jonathan Heathman, coached by Professor Kay Elliott, won the Best Mediation Award, placing 2nd overall, at the FINRA Securities Dispute Resolution Triathlon in New York City on Oct. 15-16. The competition consists of rounds in mediation, arbitration, and negotiation. The complex subject matter at this competition requires intense practice and learning. 

Adv-Holtman-Hamilton-Oct2016Christopher Hamilton and Jessica Holtman

2Ls Jessica Holtman and Christopher Hamilton, coached by Elliott, placed second at the Sports Law Negotiation Competition in San Diego, Calif. on Sept. 23-25. Other Aggie Law teams finished 6th and 8th respectively, out of 40 teams.

Director of Advocacy Jennifer Ellis said the students and coaches have worked very hard, and she is glad their work was rewarded.

“Winning our first individual mock trial award demonstrates that our new initiatives and training in mock trial are working,” she said. “And it’s wonderful to have continued success at the FINRA competition, where we won the mediation award in 2014.”

- Article by Jennifer Nassar, Communications Specialist, Texas A&M University School of Law