WACO, Texas -
Baylor Law student William McMichael is the latest Baylor Law "Mad Dog," after winning the Spring 2017 "Mad Dog" Mock Trial Competition. Fellow student Rachel Buchhorn was the finalist, and students Greg Cox and Sarah Holub were the semi-finalists.
For his impressive performance in the court room, William McMichael took home $4,000 and the "Mad Dog" trophy, an 18-inch bronze statuette of Matt "Mad Dog" Dawson, the legendary Baylor Law professor who started the tradition of mini-trial competitions during his tenure as director of Baylor Law's Practice Court Program. For placing second, Buchhorn received $1,500. Cox and Holub took home $750 each for making it to the semi-finals.
"The unique nature of the competition helps students become their own best critics," McMichael said. "The constant self-examination provided me with lessons I know I will rely on in practice. I feel honored to have won," he continued. "Rachel is a good friend and a skilled advocate. It was a privilege to compete against her in the final. I know all students appreciated the opportunity to compete. Thanks to all who helped to plan and sponsor the event!"
"Competing in Mad Dog was a great way to test out the various skills I've learned during Practice Court I and II," said finalist, Buchhorn. "Throughout the competition, I was most impressed by my fellow classmates—those competing, those witnessing, and those judging—everyone was highly prepared and effective. I also continue to be impressed by, and thankful for, the dedication of the faculty, staff, and alumni of Baylor Law to put on such phenomenal in-school advocacy competitions. It was a true honor to compete in the finals!"
In the final round, McMichael and Buchhorn tried a fictional case involving Millicent Davis, who brought suit against Bon App-etit, Inc. for injuries she sustained when a delivery food driver who worked for Bon App-etit, ran a red light, hit a Prius, and the Prius collided with Ms. Davis, who was standing on the sidewalk. Bon-App-etit is a delivery food company that allows customers to order healthy food from a professional kitchen and have the food delivered to their door. The case focused on whether the driver, Avery Schultz, was an employee of Bon App-etit, or merely an independent contractor. Additionally, if he was an employee, whether he was acting within the scope of his employment considering the fact that the accident occurred during "off-peak" hours in which drivers were permitted to run personal errands. The question of whether Bon-App-etit was negligent in hiring Schultz was also at issue, as he had two prior traffic violations that were not discovered by the company prior to hiring him. Ms. Davis sought damages related to her broken fibula and hernia repair surgery she underwent as a result of the accident.
The presiding Chief Justice for the competition was Judge Lee Harris, Judge of the 66th Judicial District Court of Hill County; David Dumas of Fulbright Winniford P.C., Missy Atwood of Germer PLLC, and Michelle Tuegel of Hunt & Tuegel PLLC were the scoring judges.
Unlike other advocacy competitions, McMichael and Buchhorn received the problem a mere 48 hours before the first round of competition. Then, to increase the difficulty of the final round, more issues were added 24 hours prior to the final round, including a new fact witness and damage issues. This innovative aspect of the competition mimics a real-life situation lawyers may face in professional practice and challenges the students to prepare a strong case while given very little time to prepare.
The Honorable Bob and Karen Wortham sponsors the intrascholastic competition. Judge Wortham serves as the District Attorney for Jefferson County and previously served as the judge of 58th District Court in Jefferson County from 2007 to 2014. He also served 12 years as U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Texas before becoming a partner in the Reaud, Morgan and Quinn Law Firm.
ABOUT BAYLOR LAW SCHOOL
Established in 1857, Baylor Law School was one of the first law schools in Texas and one of the first west of the Mississippi River. Today, the school has more than 7,400 living alumni. It is accredited by the American Bar Association and is a member of the Association of American Law Schools. Baylor Law School has a record of producing outstanding lawyers, many of whom decide upon a career in public service. The Law School boasts two governors, members or former members of the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, two former directors of the FBI, U.S. ambassadors, federal judges, justices of the Texas Supreme Court and members of the Texas Legislature, among its notable alumni. In its law specialties rankings, U.S. News & World Report ranked Baylor Law's trial advocacy program as #4 in the nation. Baylor Law School is also ranked #55 in the magazine's 2017 edition of "America's Best Graduate Schools." The National Jurist ranks Baylor Law as one of the "Best School for Practical Training," and #4 in the nation in its most recent "Best Law School Facilities" listing. The Business Insider places Baylor Law among the top 50 law schools in the nation. Baylor Law School received the 2015 American Bar Association Pro Bono Publico Award, making it only the third law school in the nation to be honored with the award since the award's inception in 1984.
ABOUT BAYLOR UNIVERSITY
Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution, characterized as having "high research activity" by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The University provides a vibrant campus community for approximately 16,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions. Baylor sponsors 19 D1 varsity athletic teams and is a founding member of the Big XII Conference. Learn more at baylor.edu