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Trial team heading to nationals after winning regional competition

The Wake Forest University School of Law team prevailed this weekend at the regional competition of the National Trial Competition in Charlotte. 

Kelly Beth Smith (’11), Charlie Mellies (’11) and Matt McClellan (’11) defeated a team from Emory to secure one of the regional finalist spots and the opportunity to represent the region at the national competition in Texas in April, said Mark Boynton (’97) of Kilpatrick Townsend Stockton, who is an assistant coach for the Wake Forest National Trial Team.

Twenty-nine teams from 15 schools participated over the weekend.  After three preliminary rounds, beginning at 6 p.m. on Friday and continuing through Saturday, the officials cut to eight semi-finalists.  ”

Kelly Beth and Charlie tried the case twice on Saturday and and twice on Sunday to prevail,” Boynton said.  “Kelly Beth and Matt tried the first round and swept all three judges’ ballots helping to secure the No. 1 seed after the cut.”

The law school’s second team of Luke MacDowall (’11), Sarah Hayward (’11) and Amy Puckett (’11) split their ballots in the first three rounds and, unfortunately, did not make the cut.  They lost rounds to two teams that did go to the semi-finals, a very good indication of the high level of competition. 

“However, I want to make clear that the success and victory belongs to the entire team, including our alternates, Leslie Cockrell (’11) and Andi Dorfman (’11),” Boynton said.  “Each and every member devoted hundreds of hours to this effort.  Judge Al Diaz, who presided over the final round, made particular comment to me concerning our team’s exemplary work and composure.

“Please join assistant coach Stephanie Reese (’96) and me in congratulating these students and expressing not only our pride in their group accomplishment but our gratitude for the hard work and the superb representation of our law school. Also, please accept our sincere thanks to the faculty and staff of the law school for continuing to offer and support these programs.  We are making a difference within our walls in the preparation of these young lawyers and throughout the law community in displaying the fruits of our collective labors.”

“Congratulations to everyone involved in this wonderful winning effort,”  added Professor Carol Anderson, director, Trial Practice.