Mock Trial, Moot Court Teams Advance to National Finals

February 5, 2018

Texas A&M School of Law students worked intensely over the winter break to prepare for the National Black Law Students Association (NBLSA) Southwest Regional advocacy competition which took place January 10-13 in Dallas. The results proved to be worth the sacrifice.

mock-trial-jan-2018Mock trial team:  Enrica Martey, Jonathan Jones, Kelsey Fahler, and Adeyemi Rogers-Campbell
3Ls Jonathan (Tripp) Jones and Kelsey Fahler and 2Ls Enrica Martey and Adeyemi (Alex) Rogers-Campbell, coached by Matthew Jackson ’13, placed third at the Thurgood Marshall Mock Trial Competition, earning a trip to the national finals.

In addition, Jones won the Best Advocate Award.

3Ls Lorraine Birabil and Élan Moore placed third at the Frederick Douglass Moot Court Competition. They advance to the national finals for the second year in a row. The team placed second at nationals in 2017. They were coached by Judge Matthew Wright, a 2008 graduate of Texas Wesleyan School of Law.
elan moore lorraine birabelMoot court team:  Élan Moore and Lorraine Birabil

The national advocacy competition finals will take place March 13-18, 2018, in Brooklyn, New York, as part of the NBLSA 50th National Convention.

“These teams in particular had to sacrifice much of their winter break to practice. The moot court brief is due in early December, which was during final exams. Then, the competition started during the first week of classes. They had to practice extensively over the break and didn’t get to have the same type of relaxing vacation or get to go visit family like other students can,” said Advocacy Program Director Jennifer Ellis.

Moore, who has been successful in two other advocacy competitions, admits that preparing for the competition is always a challenge. She says it is important to trust the process. “As much as I dislike practice, I am grateful for the guidance and encouragement we’ve received from our coach,” said Moore.

First-time competitor Rogers-Campbell believes self-assurance is vital. “One of the best pieces of advice I can give to person who has not competed is that confidence wins the day,” said Rogers-Campbell.  

Ellis is proud of the team and the consistency the students have demonstrated.

“This marks the second consecutive trip to nationals for this moot court team and coach. Two of the mock trial students have never been on a team before. It’s unusual to advance to the national finals in the first competition. It shows their talent and work ethic to reach such an accomplishment,” said Ellis.

Advocacy competition success is important for both the students and the law school. “It is impressive for our school that we advanced teams to the prestigious national finals in both mock trial and moot court. It demonstrates the strength and consistency of our program,” said Ellis.

jonathan tripp jonesBest Advocate award winner:  Jonathan (Tripp) Jones

Ellis is also proud of Jones, who received an individual award for the Best Advocate. “To be the best advocate in an entire competition is difficult, with so many talented students out there, and a huge success both for him individually and for our school,” said Ellis.

Jones’ advice to law students interested in participating in advocacy competitions is simple. “Be prepared to put in the work. There is a lot to learn in mock trial and the script you practice with will do nothing for you if you do not understand the federal rules of evidence. Evidence is everything,” he said.

Jones is also grateful for the team’s support and the guidance he received from his coach.

“This was my third time being coached by Matt [Matthew Jackson ’13] so I understand the deal, but the main method of preparation is a “sparring session.”  We continue to present our case against our teammates’ case and work our way through the motions that way. Practice makes perfect,” said Jones.

Learn more about the Texas A&M School of Law Advocacy Program:

The Advocacy Program at Texas A&M School of Law is a key component of Texas A&M School of Law’s Experiential Education program, making Aggie law students practice-ready. Directed by Jennifer Ellis, the Advocacy Program consists of three disciplines: appellate advocacy (moot court), trial advocacy (mock trial) and dispute resolution (mediation, negotiation and client counseling).

Our Moot Court, Mock Trial and Aggie Dispute Resolution teams are nationally recognized. Since the law school’s inception, the program has received:

  • 3 international championships
  • 12 national championships
  • 22 regional championships
  • 1 state championship
  • 1​6 best advocate awards
  • 13 best brief awards

- Article by Tyra Kelly, Communications Specialist, Texas A&M University School of Law