For the second straight year, a squad from the University of Louisiana Monroe’s Mock Trial team finished as one of the top-six teams at the American Mock Trial Association (AMTA) Regional Tournament on Feb. 21. The result qualifies the Gold Squad for the Opening Round Championship Series (ORCS) in Memphis, Tenn. in March.
Less than 200 of over 900 teams in the regional tournament qualified for the ORCS. The Gold Squad now heads to the ORCS in Memphis, which serves as the first round of the AMTA’s national tournament. ULM sent three squads to two regionals, winning two team awards and two individual awards.
“I am very proud of our students,” said attorney Robert “Bob” Noel, who founded ULM’s Mock Trial team in 2013. “Every student who competed ranked as a best attorney or best witness at some point during the competition alongside students from the University of Alabama, University of Mississippi, Vanderbilt University, and Rhodes College. ULM belongs to an elite group of universities; our students are an elite group of individuals.”
During the regional tournament, the ULM Gold Squad secured a win against Tulane University, Millsaps College, and the University of Alabama-Birmingham; their only loss came against Rhodes College.
Dr. Joshua Stockley, Associate Professor of Political Science, said, “I offer our mock trial program as an example—among numerous examples at ULM—of how our university thinks nationally and how our students compete and win nationally. Academically, we are an elite institution.”
Adam Nettles, captain of the Gold Squad and junior political science major from Pineville, said “Our ability to advance to nationals for the second straight year was due to the sacrifices and hard work of each individual on this team, combined with the support of our coaches and faculty. Since the start of the academic year in August, even forgoing some university breaks, we have practiced diligently and rigorously for this opportunity and with this goal in mind.”
Dr. John Sutherlin, Associate Professor of Political Science, confirmed that sentiment. “Attorneys Bob Noel and Kyle Moore have done an outstanding job working with our students,” he said. “Bob and Kyle will continue to prepare our students for the ORCS. I cannot thank them enough for what they have done.”
The Maroon Squad also competed in the Jackson Regional Tournament and also won an award. Allena Wiggers, senior finance major from Winnsboro, La., was awarded Best Attorney in the Regional Tournament.
“While I am honored to have won an award for best attorney, I know that this would not have been possible without the support of all of my teammates and the guidance of my coaches and faculty,” said Wiggers. “I am thankful that ULM provided me with this opportunity and I know that I will be a better student in law school next year because of it.”
The White Squad competed in the Dallas Regional Tournament. Although they failed to advance to the ORCS, they did win two awards. Dorae Dadgar, freshman political science major from West Monroe, La., was awarded Best Attorney in the competition. The White Squad won the Spirit of the AMTA Award, an award given to the team that displays the best civility, justice, and fair play.
“I am very proud of the improvements our team made in this tournament,” said Dadgar. “In every round and in every competition, we strive to improve first as a team and then second as individuals. I am extremely honored to have won this award and could not have done this without the support of my teammates and coaches. I am also honored that our team was recognized for our hard work and exemplary character.”
“What Dorae accomplished is significant,” said Noel. “It is extremely rare for a freshman, from any school, to win a Best Attorney Award against upperclassman from schools like Baylor University, Texas A&M University, University of Texas, and Southern Methodist University.”
ULM’s mock trial team was founded in 2013 by attorney Robert “Bob” Noel, with assistance from political science professors Dr. Joshua Stockley and Dr. John Sutherlin. In 2015, the University unveiled the E. Orum Young Mock Trial Courtroom.
For several years, ULM was home to the only active mock trial program in the state. ULM is the only university or college within Louisiana to advance to the ORCS.
The American Mock Trial Association was founded in 1985 and is the governing body for intercollegiate mock trial competition. AMTA sponsors regional and national-level competitions, as well as providing interesting and complex case materials for academic use.
Presently, the AMTA hosts 24 regional tournaments, eight opening round championship tournaments and a national championship tournament each season. Approximately 900 teams from over 350 universities and colleges will compete in these tournaments.