Baylor Law Team Wins Prestigious National Mock Trial Tournament

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(L to R) - Alex Bell, Tom Jacob, Kendall Cockrell and Joel Bailey.
Oct. 29, 2008

Contact: Julie Carlson, Baylor Law School, (254) 710-6681

A mock trial team from Baylor Law School captured first place at the ninth annual National Trial Advocacy Competition Oct. 25 in East Lansing, Mich. Baylor Law students Joel Bailey, Alex Bell, Kendall Cockrell and Tom Jacob were named champions after defeating a team from Georgia State in the finals.

The team was coached by Robert Little, who practices at the Waco firm Naman, Howell, Smith and Lee. A Baylor Law alumnus, Little was a member of the 2005 American Trial Lawyers Association National Championship team.

"These team members prepared and won while they were simultaneously working through the hardest part of our Practice Court program. Their performance - against outstanding law schools from around the nation - shows again the quality of the student advocates we have here. We're proud of our people," said Jim Wren, assistant professor at Baylor Law.

"Once again, our Baylor law students have demonstrated to all that they are receiving unparalleled education and training in advocacy," said Baylor Law Dean Brad Toben. "The tradition of success that Baylor Law has in interscholastic advocacy competition is a powerful exemplar of the excellence that characterizes each aspect of our educational program."

The team began work on the competition approximately four weeks ago. During the competition, teams represented the prosecution or defense in a case involving the theft of trade secrets for the recipe and marketing campaign for a jalapeño-flavored beer. Cockrell and Jacob portrayed the defense three times in the tournament, including during the finals, while Bailey and Bell represented the prosecution, including during their semifinal win over the University of Houston team. The Baylor group was undefeated through the tournament's five rounds.

The invitation-only 2008 NTAC featured 26 teams from law schools across the United States, including five from law schools ranked in the top 50 nationally by U.S.News & World Report and an additional nine schools ranked in the top 100. In addition, five Texas law schools sent teams to this tournament, including the University of Houston, South Texas College of Law, St. Mary's and Southern Methodist University.

The level of competition at the tournament was very high," Little said. "I am extremely proud of the students who competed for Baylor this past weekend. This victory is a testament to their hard work and dedication, as well as the advocacy training that they receive at Baylor."

Little said his own experiences in the advocacy program and on various mock trial and moot court teams at Baylor helped him coach the team.

"I was fortunate enough to have excellent coaches such as Kathy Serr, Larry Bates, Mark Osler and Jeremy Counseller while at Baylor, as well as professors like Gerald Powell and Bill Underwood. The knowledge and training I gained from each of them, as well as the knowledge and experience I have gained while working in the trial section for the past three years at Naman, Howell was critical in my own personal development as a lawyer and a coach," Little said.

"However, most of the credit has to go to the students on the team because they were the ones in the courtrooms making the case and arguing the evidence, and I am just lucky that I was given the opportunity to work with the next generation of talented Baylor attorneys. All four of them did an excellent job of representing Baylor and making me look good."

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