by Brittany Hardy
Two teams from Baylor Law School will leave March 3 for the AAJ Regional Mock Trial Competition. Shannon Brandt, Robert Wharton, Danielle Odom and Ben Yelverton make up one team. James Ray, Mark Walraven, Chaille Graft and Joel Towner make up another. Both teams are coached by Professor Jim Wren and Kathy Serr. The winner of the regional competition will qualify for the national competition.
Three rounds will take place at the Bob Casey Federal Courthouse in Houston, Texas. The first round of competition begins at 5:30 p.m. Friday, March 4. Two more rounds take place on Saturday, March 5, at 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. The playoff rounds will be held at South Texas College of Law on Sunday, March 6. The determination of which teams compete in the playoff rounds will be based on the performance of the teams in the rounds on Friday and Saturday.
The competition problem involves the traffic accident of a 69-year-old grandmother driving on a country highway. Dorothy Hiller crashed head-on with a dump truck. She is the plaintiff in the lawsuit. She is claiming that she was side-swiped by an 18-wheeler driven by the defendant, Charles Cutler, causing her to lose control of her vehicle and crash into another truck.
The grandmother is trying to prove that the truck driver was a belligerent, impatient lunatic who attempted to make a pass he knew he could not make. Meanwhile, Cutler is trying to paint a picture of an aloof, elderly woman who is in a routine and ran a stop sign forcing him to take evasive action.
The teams' practices consist of trying the entire case over three or four hours every day of the week except for Sunday.
"It has been an excellent opportunity to learn from brilliant trial attorneys," Ray said, "We have met with 'Texas Super Lawyers' from K&L Gates in Austin, judges from around the state and some of the finest plaintiff's attorneys in Texas at the Federal Courthouse in Tyler."
The teams work hard alongside their hard-working coaches.
"Professor Jim Wren has instilled in us a tenacious work ethic that will serve us well at this competition, but even more importantly, it will serve our clients well as we embark on our legal careers," Ray said.