Baylor Law Students Win ATLA Mock Trial Championship

March 7, 2005

by Alan Hunt

The Baylor Law School Mock Trial team of Robert Little and Paul Bailiff, along with witnesses Meredith Black-Matthews and Gabe Head, became regional mock trial champions after defeating teams from law schools around the state at the Association of Trial Lawyers of America (ATLA) Student Trial Advocacy Competition, held in Dallas this past weekend.

The team defeated the University of Texas in the semi-final round and defeated the University of Houston in the final round to claim the championship, said team coach Professor Jeremy Counseller. A total of 16 teams, representing nine Texas law schools, participated in the competition, which was judged by practicing lawyers and judges from the Dallas/Fort Worth area.

Counseller said the Baylor team will travel to Florida in mid-March to compete against law schools from around the country for the national title. The Baylor team of Kenan Boland and Andy Ryan, along with witnesses Ashley Veitenheimer and Gordon Davenport, also competed in the tournament and narrowly missed advancing to the semi-final round.

"All eight team members deserve our thanks and congratulations," said Counseller. "I am extremely proud of them. Their success at this competition was a direct result of countless hours of preparation as well as their command of the law of evidence and procedure, for which we all have the Practice Court program to thank."

Baylor Law has enjoyed a tradition of success in the ATLA contest. In 2003, Baylor students won third place in the national competition, held in New Orleans, and in 2004, Baylor teams won first and second places in the regional and then went on to again clinch third place in the national finals held in Florida.

Professor Gerald R. Powell, who serves as the Abner V. McCall Professor of Evidence, described the ATLA contest as an important national mock trial competition. Success in the tournament places winning teams "squarely in the top level of trial advocacy programs," he said. Powell worked with Counseller in the preparation of the Baylor teams, along with recent graduate Eric Porterfield, who served as an assistant coach.

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