October 7, 2013
The first annual McGeorge, Southern Illinois University (SIU) and Golden Gate (GGU) Challenge was held on the McGeorge School of Law, University of the Pacific campus in Sacramento, Calif. on Sept. 28, 2013. SIU received the first place award.
Professor Chris Behan from SIU conceived the new mock trial format. McGeorge Professor Cary Bricker, who teaches in the trial advocacy program, organized the event. The law student participants delved deeply into the trial's case with a mere three weeks of preparation time.
The Challenge consisted of four trials: two in the morning and two in the afternoon. Students argued pretrial motions, conducted 20 minutes of jury selection per side and then tried their cases to jury of 24 Sacramento citizens.
Four teams competed in the Challenge: one for each school plus a "hybrid" team:
The presiding judges were retired Sacramento Superior Court Judge Joe Orr and former McGeorge Mock Trial coaches Bill Barry, Bill Brelsford and Meghan Baker.
The best advocate awards went to four students: Dan Jansen (McGeorge), Randi Burggraff (SIU), Anisa Surir (GGU on the hybrid team) and Jory Zalona (GGU).
Daniel Feldman (SIU) from the hybrid team received the best voir dire award. Jared Pursell was awarded for best direct examination. The cross examination award went to Jake Weaver (McGeorge). Anna Kashtanova was awarded for the best opening statement.
"It was a terrific experience and exciting for me, as a career trial lawyer, to see this much dedication and talent among students and coaches," said Bricker.