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Baylor Law to Send Two Teams to National Trial Competition Finals

Feb. 14, 2012

Two Baylor Law School mock trial teams will compete in the National Trial Competition finals after an undefeated run at the regional competition in Dallas. The Baylor teams of Chaille Graft Walraven/ Joel Towner and Mark Walraven/ Steven Lopez competed against teams from law schools in Texas and Louisiana, with the top two teams advancing to the national finals on March 21-24 in Austin. The Baylor teams are coached by adjunct professor Robert Little, who also works for the Waco law firm Naman, Howell, Smith & Lee, PLLC.

"Baylor literally swept the field - no losses in 10 trials. I think they will do just as well at the national tournament. These young lawyers are really superb," said Gerald Powell, director of the Practice Court Program and the Abner V. McCall Professor of Evidence Law.

Baylor Law Dean Brad Toben agreed. ""The law school is very fortunate to have been represented by such quality advocates, who once again have set the standard for excellence in trial advocacy education and training. Their wonderful achievement is a reflection of the quality of our program," he said.

The NTC is sponsored by the American College of Trial Lawyers and the Texas Young Lawyers Association and is considered one of the top mock trial competitions in the United States.

"I am extremely happy and proud," Little said. "These kids have worked hard. This is further evidence that the time Baylor Law students put in during their law school career and the time their professors put in getting them ready for practice pays off."

The regional tournament case was a fictional civil case regarding who was negligent in a car wreck that caused the death of a passenger. Before the national finals, qualifying teams will receive a new case to ready for trial.

"We will have about 24 days to prepare for nationals, but because of the work they do in Practice Court, our students are used to quick but thorough trial preparation," Little said.

In addition to the team members, Little was quick to acknowledge the contributions of law student Holly Raines, who served as evidence coach, and Paul Green and Whitney Keltch, who put in numerous hours as practice witnesses.

"Holly was responsible for researching the legal issues and highlighting the cases that could be used during competition. I saw no other team that had such extensive legal research," Little said.

Arranged as a bracket tournament, the regional competitions ensure that two teams from the same school never compete against each other. Both Baylor Law teams defeated teams from South Texas School of Law in the regional finals.

Baylor Law won the National Trial Competition in 2009.

"Our interscholastic advocacy record continues to be superb. I'm grateful for our bright and motivated student competitors and for their dedicated faculty and adjunct coaches," Toben said.

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