More than 120 students representing The Ohio State University, Ohio Wesleyan University, Miami University, Ohio Northern University, Bellarmine University, Centre College, Bowling Green State University, Marian College and Wittenberg University will compete with teams of six to eight students who serve as attorneys or witnesses. Several schools will bring two teams to compete.
Team coach Johnny Pryor, Wittenberg class of 1999, earned his J.D. from Indiana University School of Law, Bloomington, in 2002. He competed on the trial competition team at Indiana for two years, and he was selected as a National Member of the Order of Barristers for his trial advocacy performance. Pryor is an assistant Clark County prosecutor and also serves on the Wittenberg Career Center Advisory Council and the university’s alumni board.
“Mock trial encourages students from a variety of disciplines to draw from personal experience and knowledge from the classroom to think critically about legal issues,” Pryor said. “Each year, the case problem always includes some empirical data and a medical expert, which allows students to become familiar with many medical terms.”
Wittenberg’s competitors represent a variety of class years and disciplines. Members from the class of 2005 includes political science major Adam Stone from Bucyrus, Ohio; class of 2006 includes political science majors Gregg Carter from Wellsville, Ohio, Carrie Winteregg from Englewood, Ohio; class of 2007 includes political science and economics major Arthur Kraatz from Strongsville, Ohio, history and sociology major Eric Rey from Grosse Pointe Woods, Mich., political science and English major Ashley Craft from Van Wert, Ohio, economics major Matt Reiss from Beavercreek, Ohio, history major Amanda Wiesehan from Defiance, Ohio, and political science major Clark Disney from Louisville, Ky.; and from the class of 2008 English major Kara Clunk from Radnor, Ohio.
Sponsored by the Clark County Bar Association, the event will begin with an opening ceremony and remarks from a representative of the bar association and Wittenberg President Mark Erickson. Last spring, the Clark County Board of Commissioners unanimously agreed to permit the Mock Trial Association to use the courthouse to host the event, and approximately 48 practicing attorneys and judges around the State of Ohio will serve as volunteer judges for each round. The mock trial competitions will be held at 9:30 a.m. and 2 p.m.
Each year, the case problem alternates between criminal or civil, and this year’s case is a criminal kidnapping case. The invitational tournaments provide teams an opportunity to practice in preparation for regional and national tournaments in the spring.
At the conclusion of the two-round mock trial tournament, trophies will be awarded to the top five trial teams. In addition, individual awards will be presented to those judged to be outstanding attorneys and witnesses.
“Mock trial is an activity that helps students gain a competitive edge in the law school admission process. Most law schools have a trial advocacy team and program, and students who participate in mock trial as undergraduates easily earn seats on a law school trial team,” Pryor said. “All students increase and improve their public-speaking skills.”
Wittenberg’s mock trial team competed in the Robert E. Sanders Mock Trial Tournament at Eastern Kentucky University Oct. 22. After four rounds of competition against Georgia Tech, Sullivan University, Rhodes College and Kenyon College, the team finished with a 4-4 record, winning judges’ ballots against Sullivan, Rhodes and Kenyon.
Miguel Martinez-Saenz, assistant professor of philosophy, serves as the assistant coach this year, and he works with students on constructing persuasive arguments, while Pryor focuses more on trial advocacy, rules and procedure. Martinez-Saenz will travel with the team to its next tournament on Nov. 11-12 at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, Tenn. Sixty-eight schools from around the country are currently registered to compete making it the largest invitational tournament in the country.
In addition to Martinez-Saenz, Pryor said that the assistance of tournament steering committee members Assistant Clark County Prosecuting Attorney Andrew Pickering and Chris Bazeley, law clerk for Judge Thomas Grady, made this event possible.
- Phyllis Eberts
Send a Message
• Book-Delivering Prof Named Ohio Professor of the Year
• Senior Class Selects Livestrong President & CEO Doug Ulman As 2011 Commencement Speaker
•Communication Program Honored Nationally With Top Award
• Wittenberg University Art Students Finalists For Scholarship Award