Trial team among 16 teams heading to 2016 Tournament of Champions at Berkeley on Oct. 20

Group photo of 2016 trial team in front of Worrell Professional Center

Wake Forest Law’s National and AAJ trial team has once again been invited to compete in the Tournament of Champions (TOC), hosted by the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law. The 2016 tournament is set to begin on Oct. 20 in San Francisco, California. Only 16 teams from across the country were invited to the tournament.

Selections are based upon a three-year performance at both the National Trial Competition and the American Association of Justice Student Trial Advocacy Competition, according to William H.D. Fernholz, director of the 2016 NITA Tournament of Champions.

This invitation is a direct result of the efforts of the trial team coaches — Professors Mark Boynton (JD ’97) and Matthew Breeding (JD ’06) along with Stephanie Reese (JD ’96) and Katie King (JD ’12), says Professor Carol Anderson, director of the Litigation Externship Clinic.. The coaches consistently maintain a focus on the individual, one that encourages each student to discover their own voice and style through practical skill sets because they ultimately want to produce strong litigators, not just mock trial competitors.

Trial team members emphasize that personal and professional development, along with the support of experienced alumni, is at the core of their success.

It’s no surprise that many members of the trial team consider the experience to be Wake Forest Law’s most valuable experiential offering. Carson Smith (JD ’16) says, “Trial team was hands down the best practical experience I could have asked for in law school. Not only did I learn how to build a case from scratch, but I also gained the confidence necessary to be an effective trial advocate. (Trial team) gave me the tools necessary to enter the courtroom and confidently represent my clients.”

In developing the strengths of each student, the coaches emphasize class, dignity and fairness in the pursuit of legal success. “AAJ taught me how to win, but in the right way,” says Joshua Bussen (JD ’16). “Our coaches have always had a philosophy: We’re going to win, but we’re going to do it fairly and ethically.”