Feature TYLA Project

35th Annual National Trial Competition

April 12,2010

TYLA conducted the 35th annual National Trial Competition last month from March 24th to the 28th at the George Allen, Sr. Civil Courts Building in Dallas. TYLA hosted NTC in conjunction with the American College of Trial Lawyers (ACTL). NTC is the country's premier law school mock trial competition with more than 150 schools participating at the regional level during the month of February. The top two teams from each of the fourteen regions advanced to the national finals in Dallas to compete for the championship. In addition to the country's top twenty-eight law school teams, over thirty Fellows of the ACTL from across the nation came to Dallas to volunteer as judges. NTC is unique among law school competitions in that the witnesses are provided by the hosts, they are not fellow law student team members. The NTC committee recruited over one hundred fifty volunteers to testify as trial witnesses during the competition.

NTC this year featured a medical malpractice case problem drafted by ACTL Fellow Marty Jones of Sprouse, Shrader, Smith PC of Amarillo. The law students tried the case three times during the preliminary rounds, and the eight teams with the best record advanced to Friday afternoon's quarter finals. The semi-finals were held at the federal courthouse and judged by panels of ACTL Fellows. ACTL President Joan Lukey presided over the finals where TYLA President Cori A. Harbour joined the panel of judges. In the finals, the team from Stetson University College of Law beat Stanford University . The best advocate was Stanford's Rakesh Kilaru.

A big thank you goes out to all the lawyer volunteers who served as judges over the three days and the lawyers and non-lawyers who served as witnesses. Over one hundred Texas lawyers volunteered to judge and over one hundred fifty lawyers and non-lawyers served as witnesses, including Dallas area high school mock trial participants, court reporting students, and numerous paralegals. Some volunteers even fought Dallas traffic to drive from Denton and McKinney in order to help out! NTC is also supported by the Court Reporting Institute of Houston, and Cori Sorenson and Sheryl Long attend with a number of their students every year.

Kudos are also due to Dallas solo Rosalyn Tippett, chair of NTC, and the members of the TYLA committee. Dallas lawyers Thea Dalkalitsis, Zeke Fortenberry, Courtney Barksdale Perez, Alex Bell, Chip Brooker, and Ken Riney recruited and coordinated judges and witnesses for the competition. Additionally, Chris Jensen and Andy Little of Amarillo, Anita Barksdale, C.E. Rhodes, and Paul Tu of Houston, Donato Ramos of Laredo, Krista Chacona, Lisa Richardson, and Zak Hall of Austin, and Wendy Humphrey of Lubbock also travelled in to help host the competition. TYLA appreciates the help from its out of state committee members, Jon Jackson of Virginia and Tracy Leduc of Florida make the trip annually to help make NTC the best competition in the country.

As always, once the page has turned on this year's competition, the committee starts looking toward next year. A criminal case file will be drafted and the competition will move from Dallas to another Texas host city. If you are interested in participating in next year's NTC, please contact Clint Harbour at clintharbour@yahoo.com.


By Clint Harbour