UT Law bests Faulkner in mock murder trial competition at St. Mary’s

The University of Texas School of Law claimed a national title with its final-round victory Oct. 18 over Faulkner in the Lone Star Classic mock trial competition.

Elliott Smith, of Faulkner University’s Jones School of Law, was named outstanding advocate for the final round.

The Classic, which was held Oct. 16-18, is an annual invitational mock trial competition for ABA-accredited law schools. St. Mary’s University has hosted it for 14 years.

This year’s mock trial “problem” was a case in the imaginary state of Lone Star. In the case, a man’s dead body is found floating in his backyard pool and his business partner is charged with murder.

This year’s competitors were Alabama, Brooklyn, Buffalo, Campbell, Catholic, Emory, Faulkner, Florida Coastal, Fordham, George Washington, Georgia State, Houston, Maryland, South Texas, Stetson and Texas. These 16 teams were chosen from an applicant pool of 38 based on the overall strength and dedication of their programs, their school’s success at regional and national competitions, and other factors. St. Mary’s doesn’t compete in the Classic.

Three preliminary rounds were held at the Bexar County Courthouse and the Bexar County Justice Center. Four teams – Texas, Faulkner, Maryland and Campbell – advanced to the semifinals in the Law Classroom Building on the St. Mary’s campus. The final round was held in the law school’s high-tech courtroom.

The final round judges were the Honorable Patrick Higginbotham (presiding), Associate Justice of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit; Richard L. Durbin Jr., First Assistant United States Attorney; and Donna Coltharp, Deputy Federal Public Defender. About 90 lawyers judged the preliminary and semifinal rounds, and roughly 50 students serve as either bailiffs or marshals for each round.

An awards dinner was held after the preliminary rounds:
Most Professional Team: Emory
Best Opening Statement: Lauren Breland (Alabama)
Best Direct Examination: Sylvia Dai (Brooklyn)
Best Cross-Examination: Lacy Mau-Mcowell (Campbell)
Best Closing Argument: Ashley Morse (Catholic)
Best Overall Advocate: Joe Aguirre (Alabama)

The organizers of this year’s Classic were Professor David Schlueter, Director of Advocacy Programs; Assistant Professor Ramona Lampley, Associate Director; Meagan Enriquez (3L) and Clair Strom (2L), Assistant Directors; and Landry Redding (3L) and Rebecca Fischer (2L), committee members.

“I’d like to thank the Committee, the Board of Advocates, members of the faculty who served as judges, the numerous law students for their outstanding efforts and support in running this national competition, and Dean Stephen Sheppard for his support and encouragement,” Schlueter said. “Thanks are also extended to the many members of the San Antonio legal community for their continued support not only of the Classic, but also of the law school’s advocacy programs.”

  • University of Texas School of Law
    • Nadia Ramkissoon (coach), Friendswood
    • Chandler Raine, Dallas
    • Kiera Kilday, Houston/Cypress
    • Brandon Bishoff, San Antonio
    • Daryoush Behbood, Sugar Land
  • Faulkner University Jones School of Law
    • Beau Womack (coach)
    • Orin Odom, Monroeville, Ala.
    • Claire Burns, Montgomery, Ala.
    • Kia Scott, Montgomery, Ala.
    • Elliott Smith, Dothan, Ala.
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