February 3, 2020
Two University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law teams are headed to the most important mock trial competition in the country in early April, following wins at the regional competition hosted by the UC Berkeley School of Law.
The two teams were McGeorge students Simone Leighty and Sam Hibbs, and Celeena Wall and Josh White. They were coached by Keith Hill ’96, Thien Ho ’98 and Kitty Canales ’16, all McGeorge alumni now working for the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office. Pacific’s teams “crushed” the competition, said Cary Bricker, McGeorge professor and Mock Trial Program director.
McGeorge’s Mock Trial Competition Team Program trains law students in persuasive advocacy in the courtroom and how to effectively apply federal rules of evidence to win pretrial motions and make appropriate objections in trial. Students compete in regional and national trial competitions in which they act as trial counsel, representing a “client” through all phases of litigation, including pretrial motions, opening and closing statements, direct and cross examination. The cases cover civil to criminal, and the trial fact patterns are often loosely based on real trials.
The National Trial Competition, sponsored by the American College of Trial Lawyers and the Texas Young Lawyers Association and held in Fort Worth, Texas, is the oldest and most prestigious trial advocacy competition in the country. Each year, more than 140 law schools from around the country compete.
Teams will be vying for The Kraft W. Eidman Award — $10,000 for the winning school and a plaque to each team member — presented by the American College of Trial Lawyers and endowed by Norton Rose Fulbright LLP. The second place team receives a $5,000 award presented by Beck Redden LLP and each semifinalist team is awarded $1,500 by Polsinelli. The George A. Spiegelberg Award, donated by Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson, goes to the best oral advocate.