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Concord University's Mock Trial Teams Place Second and Third in National Competition in Dallas, Texas

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Concord University’s Mock Trial Teams Place Second and Third in National Competition in Dallas, Texas

Athens, W.Va. – Concord University’s mock trial teams placed second and third in the Phi Alpha Delta Pre-Law Fraternity’s National Mock Trial Competition in Dallas, Texas, on November 1st through the 4th. In addition, the teams won awards for “Outstanding Plaintiff Team” and “Outstanding Attorney.” This is the third year in a row that Concord has placed either first or second in the competition and the first time that Concord has had two teams place in the top three.

Nine Concord students participated in the Mock Trial. They were divided into two teams. Natale Clark from Davis, Brad Garner from Chesapeake, Va., Evan Olds from Lewisburg, and Svitlana Olenich from Richlands, Va., placed second to Central Florida University in the finals. Ashley Gillespie from Bluefield, Bryan Henderson from Piney View, Ryan Hunt from Cross Lanes, and Patricia Sparks from Culloden placed third, beating Temple University in the finals. Tenisha Cline from Gilbert was the alternate for the teams.

The trial involved the alleged cyberstalking of a high school student by another high school student. The trial teams questioned witnesses and made evidentiary objections, opening statements and closing arguments, just like in a real trial. There are several rounds to the competition. In some rounds, the teams were the plaintiff’s attorneys; in other rounds, they represented the defendant. This year, Brad Garner and Svitlana Olenich represented the plaintiff and, in a tie with Central Florida, were recognized as “Outstanding Plaintiff Team.” Additionally, Natale Clark was awarded “Outstanding Attorney.”

Thirteen teams of pre-law undergraduate students from universities across the United States competed in the trial competition. Besides Concord, the schools competing included much larger schools such as Temple University, the University of Arizona, Central Florida University, and Texas Tech.

Concord’s teams were coached by Marshall S. Campbell, who is an attorney, a pre-law professor at Concord and is also Concord’s director of the Student Center and student activities. This is the fifth year that Concord has sent teams to the competition. Concord was second in 2005 and first in 2006. Campbell stated: “I am extremely proud of all members of the teams. They worked hard and learned a great deal, but also had a lot of fun. It was a thrill to have both our teams in the finals this year. In the last three years, we have had teams place first, second on two occasions, and third despite adding new faces as other students have graduated.” Campbell added, “There are two students graduating this year who deserve a special comment. Bryan Henderson has been on teams the last three years that have placed first, second and third. Additionally, Ashley Gillespie has been a member of teams that have placed first and third.”

Campbell thanked several local judges. “We had several practice rounds before the trip. One evening, we went to the Mercer County Courthouse and had trials judged by local Circuit and Family Court Judges Derek Swope, John Frazier, David Knight, William Sadler, Mary Ellen Griffith, and Edwin Wiley. Their comments and observations were excellent and helped us immensely.”

Concord maintains a strong legal studies and pre-law program, which includes a mock trial class. Students learn the art of trying cases, using the case for the Phi Alpha Delta competition. The students chosen to represent Concord at the competition must be members of Concord’s Phi Alpha Delta pre-law fraternity and participate in the class. Besides the mock trial class, Concord offers a variety of pre-law classes that assist the students in preparing for law school.