Home Law School News Mock trial team places fifth at nationals

Mock trial team places fifth at nationals

Drake's AAJ Regional Champs

Update April 23, 2014—

After great success in the regional round, the White Team of Torey Robinson, Mara Jones, John Lawyer, and Rob Conklin placed 5th at nationals in Santa Monica earlier this month.  The team was just one point short of making the semifinal round.

March 25, 2014—

Two Drake Law teams competed successfully at the American Association for Justice (AAJ) Student Trial Advocacy Competition this past weekend in Omaha, with one team advancing to Nationals.

AAJ seeks to inspire excellence in trial advocacy through training and education for both law students and practicing attorneys. The association accomplishes this goal in part by sponsoring the National Student Trial Advocacy Competition, an annual nationwide mock trial competition. The competition is an exceptional opportunity for law students to develop and practice their trial advocacy skills before distinguished members of the bar and bench.

Drake’s Blue Team, comprised of Katie Yaske, Calla Parochetti, Blake Hanson, and Josh Strief, won all three preliminary rounds unanimously, compiling a 9-0 record against University of Missouri Kansas City (UMKC) and two teams from South Dakota. This team lost in the semifinals by one point.

Drake’s White Team, made up of Torey Robinson, Mara Jones, John Lawyer, and Rob Conklin, won all three preliminary rounds, compiling a 7-2 record against UMKC and two teams from South Dakota. This team unanimously defeated William Mitchell in the semifinals, and defeated the University of Colorado to claim the regional title.  There are 224 teams in the competition, with the White Team among the 14 regional winners who will compete for the national title.

“Our team had the benefit of working with and scrimmaging one of the best teams in the region every week during practice,” says Torey Robinson, a third-year student and member of the White Team. “The training, teamwork, and support between both Drake teams prepared us for anything we faced in the regional competition.”

This is the second time in the last three years, and third time in the last seven years Drake has won the regional title.

The teams are coached by Matthew Eslick, LW’05, shareholder at Nyemaster Goode, P.C., and Kurt Van Thomme, LW’05, intellectual property transactions and litigation counsel at Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc.

“We get to work with students who not only perform at a high level, but also represent themselves, their coaches, and the Law School incredibly well,” says Matthew Eslick.

“We are extremely pleased with the development of skills of both teams,” says Kurt Van Thomme.  “To see students compete at a high level and develop along the way is, for me, the most rewarding part.”

The national tournament is held in Santa Monica, Calif., April 10-13.