A Baylor Law School team clinched the regional championship at the ABA Labor Law Mock Trial Competition over the weekend in Dallas. Danielle Odom, Joel Towner, Brian Harrison and Steven Lopez defeated teams from Loyola University - New Orleans, The University of Houston, Mississippi College and The University of Colorado en route to taking first place. With the win the Baylor team qualified for the national competition. Another Baylor Law team of Caleena Svatek, Shawn Latchford, Huma Patel and Mark Walraven also competed. The teams were coached by Professor Jeremy Counseller and Adjunct Professor Dan Tilly.
"These students only had 12 days to work with their coaches before the competition," said Baylor Law Dean Brad Toben. "Their success, indeed, is a testament to their amazing talent and drive to succeed. However, it also reflects the deep commitment of our faculty, both full-time and adjunct, to one-on-one work in preparing and mentoring our students. I am so proud of all of them."
Overall, 16 teams competed in the Dallas regional. Schools representing Baylor, South Texas, SMU, Texas Wesleyan, Houston, Ole Miss, Loyola - New Orleans, Duquesne and Mississippi College competed in the regional. The national finals will be held Jan. 29-30 in Los Angeles, where each of the eight regional champions from Miami, Washington, D.C., Boston, New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Dallas, and Los Angeles will compete.
Each year the labor law competition involves an aspect of employment law. This year, the problem centered on an insurance company that is laying off employees. The company cuts one of its employees, who is battling with cancer. The question is whether the company fired him because of the lay-offs or because of his diminishing health.
"We took two teams to the Dallas regional this year - both of whom worked extremely long hours daily in preparing. Due to the date of the competition and our exam schedules, Jeremy (Counseller) and I were not able to fully begin practicing with them until twelve days prior to the competition. Two students on each team are 2Ls who had not had any prior law school mock trial experience. Their victory on Sunday speaks volumes to the work ethic and advocacy skills of each of these students. Personally, I couldn't be prouder of them or our school," Tilly said.