Undergraduate mock trial teams place among best in country
Undergraduate mock trial teams place among best in countryApril 13, 2005Matthew R. Snydermrsnyder@syr.edu
Two Undergraduate Mock Trial teams from Syracuse University placed among the best in the country at the National Mock Trial Tournament, hosted by the Stetson University School of Law March 11-13 in St. Petersburg, Fla.
In the national tournament, students participate in a mock civil or criminal trial, portraying either the plaintiff or the defense against teams from other schools. The American Mock Trial Association (AMTA), a national organization that began in 1985, publishes a mock trial case each year to “give undergraduate students an opportunity to learn firsthand about the work of trial attorneys, understand the judicial system, to develop critical thinking and enhance communication skills.” Teams are judged based on preparation, knowledge of the case and knowledge of procedural rules, as well as presence and poise in the courtroom.
The College of Arts and Sciences (A&S) organizes SU’s undergraduate mock trial teams. Earning ninth place in the national tournament were: Julia Joyce, a senior policy studies and political science major in The College of Arts and Sciences (A&S); Maureen Lorincz, a senior painting major in the College of Visual and Performing Arts with a dual political science and philosophy minor in A&S; Jeannine Panzera, a junior political science and history major in A&S; Cory Hauke, a freshman chemistry major at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF); Joshua Frost, a freshman information management technology major in the School of Information Studies; Timothy Middleton, a junior political science major in A&S; Harris Sokoloff, a sophomore civil engineering major in the L.C. Smith College of Engineering and Computer Science; and Angelo Roefaro, a sophomore management and finance major in the Martin J. Whitman School of Management.
The tenth-place team consisted of: Jessica Marsh, a junior political science and international relations major in A&S; Joseph Nosse, a senior political science and policy studies major in A&S; Amanda Rey, a senior political science major in A&S; Raymond Toenniessen, a junior international relations major in A&S; Whitney Tatum, a sophomore management major in the Whitman School; Kristen Jones, a sophomore political science major in A&S; and Jessica Miller, a freshman undeclared major in A&S. Rey received a Best Advocate Award in the competition.
“As a first-year member of the mock trial team, I had no idea what to expect,” says Panzera. “But after making some great friends and competing nationally with some of the best schools in the country, I can say that the experience was priceless. I learned more about law, public speaking, life and myself. My only regret is that I did not join the team earlier in my college career.”
“The national tournament was an incredible opportunity that I will never forget,” says Frost. “It was an experience that has been and will continue to be infinitely valuable to me.”
The two SU teams advanced to the national tournament by placing well at the regional tournament, which was held in February in Princeton, N.J. The students began practicing and working last September in preparation for the regional tournament, in which they placed sixth and ninth. Nosse received an Outstanding Advocate Award. Marsh received Outstanding Advocate and Outstanding Witness awards.
Both teams were coached throughout the year by local attorneys Jean-Marie Westlake LAW’01 and Kevin Kuehner LAW’99. Meghan Bashaar ’03 and Iman Abraham ’04, current law students and former members of the mock trial team, also provided guidance in practices during the year.
“This has been an outstanding year for the mock trial program,” says Westlake. “While our goal is to provide the students with a unique program that gives them an opportunity to learn and apply the fundamentals of trial advocacy and develop their communication skills, it is doubly rewarding to see their hard work pay off. To have not one, but two teams place in the top 10 is outstanding and both teams should be commended,” she says.