ETSU’s Mock Trial enjoying tremendous success

Published 3:29 pm Tuesday, October 31, 2023

It’s hard to imagine a group that formed only a year ago enjoying so much success.
But that’s exactly what East Tennessee State University’s Mock Trial is doing.
Over the weekend, the team traveled to Atlanta for its first-ever invitational, the Owl Classic at Kennesaw State University. The Bucs placed first overall, besting teams that have a much larger enrollment, including Auburn University.
“Our mock trial team’s recent success is a testament to the hard work, dedication and unwavering passion of our students. We are proud to see our students excel in this highly competitive field, and we look forward to their continued success this season,” said Lindsay Daniel, deputy university counsel and one of the team’s coaches.
Accolades were plentiful.
Trent White, the Student Government Association president, and Kyah Powers won outstanding attorney awards. P.J. Davis captured an outstanding witness award.
“I am proud of these students for their collegiality, teamwork and commitment to excellence,” said Dr. Mark Fulks, university counsel and a coach. “Working with them is an honor and a privilege.”
National attention is nothing new for these students.
The group earned the Spirit of American Mock Trial Association (AMTA) Award, an honor given to the team that best exemplifies the ideals of college mock trial, including civility, fairness and professionalism, at an AMTA regional tournament in Dayton, Ohio.  
That competition marked the team’s first tournament since forming in 2022.
The students also enjoy immense hands-on learning opportunities, which hone their communication skills, sharpen critical thinking and afford them the ability to learn to work as a team member.
“This is exceptional preparation for students, and not just for those who want to go to law school,” said Dr. Kimberly D. McCorkle, ETSU provost and senior vice president for Academic Affairs and a former mock trial coach. “I commend these students and the faculty, staff and volunteers who help prepare them. They put in so much work, and we are seeing the fruits of their labor.”
Students getting such experiences are at the core of the university’s approach to education, aiming to help graduates move from enrolled to employed.
“Mock Trial is a great educational activity not only for those students interested in a future legal career, but also for those wishing to develop skills in public speaking, critical thinking and teamwork,” said Harden Scragg, staff attorney and coach.

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