Baylor Law Chalks Up Three Advocacy Wins In A Week

March 6, 2003

by Alan Hunt

Baylor Law School's mock trial and moot court teams posted two more regional mock trial/moot court competition championships last weekend, for a total of one national championship and two regional championships inside of one week.

In San Francisco, Baylor won the Western Regional of the American Bar Association Moot Court Competition and now advances to the nationals in Chicago in April. This is a repeat performance for Baylor, which won the Western Regional contest last year.

Marilyn Montano, Rory Ryan and Richard Vance represented Baylor on the winning team, and their brief placed fifth out of 32 teams. Vance was ranked the sixth speaker out of nearly 100 speakers participating from the region. Montano scored a perfect 100 in the regional semi-final and final rounds.

Baylor's other team of Geoff Culbertson, Erin Huber and Carolyn Tapie defeated one of the top teams in the competition and then assisted Baylor's winning team in competing successfully. Team coach was Larry T. Bates, associate professor of law.

Baylor also won the regional final of the ATLA (Association of Trial Lawyers of America) Mock Trial Competition held in Dallas and now advances to the national finals in New Orleans on March 20-23.

"This is an important national mock trial competition. The Texas regional is widely considered the toughest of the 14 regional competitions," said team coach Gerald R. Powell, who serves as the Abner V. McCall Professor of Evidence.

The winning Baylor team consisted of lawyers Elizabeth Lyons and Dan Sorey, as well as witnesses, Allen Gardner and Shauna Kinney. Powell said this team was undefeated in five trials, winning all but one of the 15 judges' ballots.

Baylor also was represented in the tournament by lawyers Kelly Rivera, David Skeels and Linda Thai, as well as witness Eric Porterfield. Baylor's evidence coach was Matthew Eickman.

The previous weekend, Baylor Law won the national championship in the National First Amendment Competition. This also was a back-to-back win for Baylor, which took the title at last year's competition. Representing Baylor on the winning team were Jason Bernhardt, Rachel Davis and Somer George. George also won the Best Advocate Award in the completed rounds. Also competing for Baylor were Wes Lotz, Robert White and Jennifer Willingham. The contest is judged every year by lawyers, judges and law professors from the nation's capital. Team coach is Brian J. Serr, professor of law.

Expressing his pride in "this impressive string of victories," Dean Brad Toben said, "They are very important in advancing the profile of our program, in advocacy and otherwise. These successes are a tribute to the dedication of our students and the focus of our faculty upon our students in developing the students' lawyering skills."

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