Concord University’s Mock Trial Team Wins National Competition in Washington, D.C.
Athens, W.Va. - Concord University won the Phi Alpha Delta Prelaw Fraternity’s National Mock Trial Competition in Washington, D.C., on November 10 through the 12, defeating the University of Arizona in the finals. In addition, it won “Outstanding Defense Team” for the third year in a row.
Nine Concord students participated in the Mock Trial. They were divided into two teams. Ashley Gillespie from Bluefield, Bryan Henderson from Piney View, Nathaniel Nagy from Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada, and Matthew Stonestreet from Bluefield won the competition. Concord’s other team included Brad Garner from Chesapeake, Va., Ryan Hunt from Cross Lanes, Patricia Sparks from Culloden, and Diandra Wetzel from Clarksburg. Evan Olds from Lewisburg was the alternate for the teams.
The trial involved the alleged murder of a homeless woman. The trial teams questioned witnesses and made evidentiary objections, opening statements and closing arguments, just like in a real trial. There are several rounds to the competition. In some rounds, the teams were the prosecutors; in other rounds, they defended the accused. This year, Bryan Henderson and Matthew Stonestreet played the part of defense attorneys and were recognized as “Outstanding Defense Team.”
Nineteen teams of prelaw undergraduate students from universities across the United States competed in the trial competition. Besides Concord, the schools competing included much larger schools such as Temple University, the University of Arizona, the University of Delaware, and Texas Tech.
Concord’s teams were coached by Marshall S. Campbell, who is an adjunct professor at Concord and a local attorney. This is the fourth year that Concord has sent teams to the competition. Each year Concord’s overall place has improved. Last year, Concord made the finals, but came in second to the University of Arizona. Campbell stated: “I am extremely proud of all members of both teams. They all spent many hours getting prepared. It is rewarding to see how the students have progressed in their knowledge, style and technique.” Additionally, Campbell thanked four members of the local legal community. “We had several practice rounds before the trip. One evening, we had trials judged by Judge Derek Swope and local attorneys, J. Alex Alvarez, Phillip Ball and Anthony Bisaha. Their comments and observations were excellent and greatly appreciated.”
Concord maintains a strong legal studies and prelaw program, which includes a mock trial class. Students learn the art of trying cases, using the case for the Phi Alpha Delta competition. The students chosen to represent Concord at the competition must be members of Concord’s Phi Alpha Delta prelaw fraternity and participate in the class. Besides the mock trial class, Concord offers a variety of legal studies classes that assist the students in preparing for law school.