The court is in session! Stevenson University’s Mock Trial A-Team scored a win in The Regional Tournament of the American Mock Trial Association (AMTA) competition earlier this semester, which pushed them forward into the Opening Round Championship Series (ORCS).
Annually, The American Mock Trial Association hosts a national mock trial tournament series featuring almost 600 teams from 350 universities from across the United States. The tournaments start locally in September with “invitational” rounds, and from there, teams have the chance to progress to regionals, opening rounds, and finally, nationals.
Stevenson University currently has two mock trial teams, the A-Team and the B-Team. Just last month in February, the A-Team brought in a huge win going 7-1 (winning seven judges and losing one) beating out schools like the University of North Carolina, Asheville and Georgia Institute of Technology.
The current “trial” that the team has to work with involves an accusation against character “Harper Martini,” who is accused of poisoning their daughter/son’s fiancé as a winery owner. The A-Team argued the stance that the defendant intentionally poisoned their future daughter/son in-law and saw great success with arguing their case.
The A-Team was also the first and highest-ranking team walking out of regionals and received three all-regional awards based on the performance of their attorneys and witnesses. The team celebrated this win.
Anne Clevenger, a third-year legal studies major at SU and mock trial A-team member at Stevenson explained how her coaches were huge aid in winning. “We’re lucky because our coaches are willing to put in a ton of time to help us,” Clevenger said. “I spend a lot of time with the coaches and the team learning the rules of evidence, so by the time we hit our second or third tournament I was feeling a lot more comfortable with the rules of evidence and being prepared for those unexpected moments.”
With the A-Team taking in this win, honorable mention must be given to Stevenson’s B-Team that also competed in this year’s Regionals but did not move on to opening rounds. Melanie Snyder, head coach of the mock trial team and Professor of Law at Stevenson, expressed how the B-Team performed exceptionally. “They competed against the best team in the whole tournament, and probably the nation, and did really well,” Snyder said. With both teams doing so well in the competition this year, some credit of the team’s success goes to mock trial coach and 2019 Stevenson Law Graduate, Norman Greenwell, who has been “invaluable” to the team, according to Snyder.
Stevenson’s Mock Trial Team has come a long way from very humble beginnings, previously only making it to a few invitationals in its early days. The team started as a simple club a little over a decade back and since then has transformed into a one-credit course offered every semester that is open to all students that make mock trial. Not only has the team seen huge success together, but they have also grown into a close-knit community. “That’s one factor for our team that I think really makes us different from other teams, we’re really close,” Clevenger added. “I think a big part of how you do is how well you have each other’s back; we really came together for regionals.”
This community has persevered through the pandemic, even with all tournaments and meetings being virtual. “The fact that we’re still able to meet on Zoom every night,” said Snyder, “I haven’t seen anybody, but I feel like I have. I’m incredibly close to everybody.”
Stevenson’s mock trial team is one that values diversity and community. “This activity is really meant to be an activity across boundaries,” Snyder added. “We want it diverse, not only in student body, but in [students’] major.”
Moving forward, Stevenson’s mock trial teams hope to continue to add new members. For more information about Stevenson’s Mock Trial Team, visit their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/StevensonMockTrial/.