For the third time in five years, a team of St. Mary’s University School of Law students won their region of the National Trial Competition, advancing to the national championship in Austin, March 26-28.
Eleven schools from Texas and Louisiana sent a total of 22 teams to compete in the regional tournament hosted by Texas Tech School of Law in Lubbock. The National Trial Competition, one of the oldest and most prestigious mock trial competitions in the United States, invites all ABA-accredited law schools to compete in the annual competition. The top two teams from each of the 13 regions advance to the championship rounds next month. A team from Baylor Law School is the other champion from the Texas and Louisiana region.
St. Mary’s Regional Champion team of Jeff Starnes, Allison Skipper and Megan David beat teams from Texas Tech University School of Law, Tulane University Law School, South Texas College of Law and Loyola University College of Law on their way to the finals where they defeated Baylor Law School’s nationally-recognized team. St. Mary’s third-year law student Jeff Starnes was named Best Advocate of the competition.
“The win at the regional competition was a testimony to the tireless efforts of both the coaches and the team,” said Dave Schlueter, St. Mary’s law professor and director of Advocacy Programs. “They practiced almost every day, including weekends, and their preparation and perseverance paid off. We are extremely proud of them. We are also indebted to the numerous lawyers and judges who conducted the practice rounds in preparing for the competition.”
The second team from St. Mary’s, Blake Stribling, Thom Nisbet and Alexis Lorick, missed breaking to the semi-finals by one ballot.
St. Mary’s external advocacy program teams are coached by local attorneys and alumni Bill Squires and Cliff Herberg, with assistant coaches Nicole Thornbro, Paul Huckabay and Morgan Matson.
The National Trial Competition is co-sponsored by the American College of Trial Lawyers and by the Texas Young Lawyers Association. The competition was established in 1975 to encourage and strengthen students’ advocacy skills through quality competition and valuable interaction with members of the bench and bar. The program is designed to expose law students to the nature of trial practice and to serve as a supplement to their education.