Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law
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Mock Trial Regional Champions

mock trial champions

The University of Memphis National Trial Team advanced to the semifinal round of the 38th Annual National Trial Competition, held in San Antonio, Texas, over the weekend of April 4 to 7, 2013.  The Team, comprised of advocates Brigid Welsh (’13), Drew Davis (’13), and Sam Hinson (’14), defeated number one seed Cumberland School of Law in the national quarterfinals.  In the national semifinals, the team fell to eventual national champion Georgetown University Law Center in a close, split decision.

Coached by Professor Danny Schaffzin and Professor Michelle Slack, the Trial Team earned Memphis Law’s best finish in the National Trial Competition since 1998.  This year, 320 teams from ABA accredited law schools across the country competed in regional tournaments in February.  After defeating Vanderbilt Law School to win the Region 11 Championship at the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville, Memphis advanced with 27 other teams to the national championship rounds in Texas.

“From an initial Regional Rounds pool of more than 300 teams, Brigid, Drew, and Sam finished as one of the four best teams in the largest and most prestigious law school trial competition in the country”, said Professor Schaffzin.  “More importantly, they represented the University of Memphis and each other with the utmost professionalism and excellence.  Professor Slack and I are so, so proud of all that the Team has accomplished.” Professor Slack added, “Any one of them could walk into a courtroom today and go up against an experienced trial lawyer,” adding that, “the team is helping put Memphis on the map for trial lawyers across the country.”  

The National Trial Team began preparing for the NTC Regionals in September 2012 and logged more than 200 hours in practices leading up to the regional tournament.  In addition to the accomplishments of Ms. Welsh, Mr. Davis, and Mr. Hinson, a second team of Zach Jones (‘13), Kaycee Arnold (‘13), and Andrew Horvath (‘14) earned a ninth place finish in the region, winning two out of three preliminary round trials and just missing qualification for the regional quarterfinals.  Team alternates Abigail Hall (‘14) and Brandon White (‘14) assisted the Team in every aspect of its preparations.

“Being a member of this team has been more wonderful and enriching than I could have ever imagined,” said Brigid Welsh, a two-year member of the National Trial Team.  “It's not every day that you get to enjoy great success with great people by your side. The support from the school and community has been humbling."

“Competing in the National Finals will go down as one of the best experiences of my law school career,” said Drew Davis, a third-year law student who joined the Trial Team this year.  “I think a lot of our success in advancing to Nationals and making it to the semifinals is the result of how well we get along as a team.  Throughout the whole year, in practicing and competing, I have enjoyed being around my teammates and coaches.  Being on the trial team has made me feel more confident about communicating my ideas to other people and has given me an understanding of the mechanics of how a trial works.”  

“Being a member of this team has been one of the top experiences of my life,” added Sam Hinson, the lone second-year law student on the National-qualifying team.  “The success of this team is a direct result of the great coaching and guidance of Professor Slack and Professor Schaffzin and the unmatched dedication of all the team members.”

The National Trial Competition was established in 1975 to encourage and strengthen students' advocacy skills through quality competition and valuable interaction with members of the bench and bar.  The program is designed to expose law students to the nature of trial practice and to serve as a supplement to their education. It is the Texas Young Lawyers Association intent to provide a meaningful contribution to the development of future trial lawyers. 

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Last Updated: 4/15/13