McGeorge School of Law

Fast Start for Mock Team Bodes Well for Future Events

January 10, 2017

The 2016-2017 McGeorge Mock Trial Teams

The 2016-2017 McGeorge Mock Trial Teams and Coaches

The McGeorge mock trial teams sprinted out of the gate in the Fall 2016 semester and are entering the Spring season with great momentum. All three traveling teams earned national recognition in the Fall, including championship round appearances and best advocate awards. Professor Cary Bricker, Program Director, stated this is one of the strongest Fall tournament showings for the McGeorge mock trial program in over 10 years.

In October, Michelle Ahronovitz, Brittany Berzin, Alex Smith, and Nia Traylor advanced to the championship round of the California Attorneys for Criminal Justice (CACJ) Trial Advocacy Competition in San Francisco, California. Traylor received the Best Advocate Award. Ahronovitz and Traylor then traveled to New York City to compete in the Judge Kelly Invitational in mid-November. Meanwhile, Mike Jones, Gage Marchini, Albert Mendoza, and Leslie Shergill traveled to Buffalo, New York, for one of the largest national invitational competitions in the country. The McGeorge team battled through a thirty-six team field consisting of the top ranked mock trial programs across the United States and advanced to the championship round.

The third team, consisting of Josh Hudson, Ashley Pane, Heather Phillips and Nicole Vera, traveled to Montgomery, Alabama to compete in the first Mockingbird Challenge hosted by Faulkner University. Hudson, Pane, Phillips and Vera then traveled to Los Angeles later in the semester for the National Civil Trial Competition (NCTC). The team made an impressive showing in the semi-final round against Stetson, who ultimately won the tournament.

The final team, comprised of, Britany Berzin, Kyle Chin, Alyssa Malinoski, and Kelli Tong, scrimmaged the NCTC team in the Fall and will be competing in national competitions in the Spring.

Professor Bricker attributes the success of the mock trial teams to the commitment of the students and the invaluable coaching from highly experienced trial attorneys in the greater Sacramento region. A unique component of the McGeorge mock trial program is the fact that practicing trial attorneys, themselves former Mock Trial stars, dedicate their time to coaching the teams and help prepare the students for successful careers after law school. The Fall semester coaches included Keith Hill, '96, Thien Ho, '98, Jason Schaff '06, Alan Donato, '09, Jeff Schaff, '09, Jesse Saucedo, '11, David Norton, '13. Teal Ericson, '14 and Courtney Martin, '13.

As for the Spring 2017 semester, the mock trial teams are already preparing for another successful showing. The teams will be competing in the National Trial Competition (NTC) presented by the Texas Young Lawyers Association, the American Association for Justice (AAJ) Student Trial Advocacy Competition, and the South Texas Challenge in Houston, Texas. McGeorge will also host the National Ethics Trial Competition in its 11th year.

"We look forward to reporting back soon on further mock trial successes," said Professor Bricker.