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Dayton Law Students Lead The Way At Ohio Attorney General’s Mock Trial Competition

A day that started with nervous excitement ended with all-around excitement when students from the University of Dayton School of Law took home the top two spots at the annual Ohio Attorney General’s Mock Trial Competition.

“Everyone was so thrilled,” says 3L Stefanie Stack. “We were giving high fives and hugs.”

The UDSL team of Stack, Emily Smith, Courtney Strickland, Jordan Staley, Annie Santos and Nicole Vega won first place, while the team of Phoebe Cates, Caden Heskett, Lei Lei, Maxwell Newsome, Daniel Rafferty, Anna Self and Chelsea Small took second place.

In addition, Stack, Newsome and Strickland won Best Attorney awards and Rafferty and Vega received Best Witness awards with Rafferty getting two.

“It was humbling and satisfying because of all the work we put in,” Stack says. “It was a team effort throughout the semester. Everyone was so supportive.”

The teams spent weeks preparing for the competition as part of their Mock Trial Capstone class, taught by Adjunct Professors Bill Becker and Mark Chilson and Professor Emeritus Tom Hagel.

“The class is a culmination of all the things you study and learn throughout law school,” Stack says. “We worked really hard and the professors were amazing. We put the time in because we wanted to do well not just for ourselves but for the team as a whole.”

Adds 3L Newsome, “Both teams helped each other. We would practice against each other. There were things I learned from in practice, like I didn’t expect that cross or that objection.”

Stack says all that preparation helped the teams quickly feel at ease at the competition.

“We were anxious in the beginning, but once we got into the courtroom with our opening statements that turned toward excitement and a feeling of being comfortable,” Stack says.

Aside from all the awards, the students gained something even more valuable, first-hand knowledge of what it takes to do trial work.

“I got a lot of experience in how I can develop certain things and make them better,” Newsome says. “All of us are capable now that if needed we could do a trial.”

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