BLSA mock trial team advances to national competition March 7-12

Group photo of law students on the BLSA Mock Trial Team after advancing to the 2017 National Championship

A Wake Forest Black Law Students Association mock trial team has been granted a seat at the National Thurgood Marshall Mock Trial Competition on March 7-12 in Houston, Texas.

This year Wake Forest sent two BLSA mock trial teams to the Southern Regional Thurgood Marshall Mock Trial Competition held Feb. 1-5 in Atlanta, Georgia. The first team (Team 1) was made up of Doriyon Glass (JD ’18), Briana O’Neil (JD ’18), Tracea Rice (JD ’19) and Brittney Willis (JD ’19). The second team (Team 2) was made up of  Correll Kennedy (JD ’17), Steven Williams (JD ’18), Darius Lamonte (JD ’19) and Jasmine Burgess (JD ’19). Ultimately, the team placed third within the competition advancing them to compete within the national competition on March 7-12 in Houston, Texas.

Ultimately, Team 1 — consisting of Rice, O’Neil, Glass, and Willis — placed third within the regional competition advancing them to compete within the National Thurgood Marshall Mock Trial Competition.

Coached by Sonny Haynes, a civil litigation and education law associate at Womble, Carlyle, Sandridge & Rice LLP, the Wake Forest Law teams competed against 12 other teams across the southern region in the competition this year. During the last rounds of competition, the Wake Forest team faced University of Florida, Nova Southeastern University and Florida State University.

Throughout the competition, the team received recognition from the judges who referred to the team members opening and closing statements as “excellent” in their use of strong case themes which they incorporated into their examinations of witnesses. Team members were also praised for their knowledge of the rules of evidence and making clear and concise arguments in their motions practice.

Highlights included O’Neil, Glass, Rice, and Willis convincing the presiding judge to dismiss some of Plaintiff’s claims on a motion for judgment as a matter of law at the conclusion of Plaintiff’s case-in-chief.  The team consisting of Kennedy, Williams, Burgess, and Lamonte consistently presented convincing expert witness testimony and demonstrated a command of the courtroom with excellent openings and closings, the judges commented.

Coach Haynes said, “The team was successful because they acted as a team who supported each other and world together tirelessly to hone their trial skills in practice.”