November 26, 2012
From: Laura Clark
Director of Media Relations
ULM establishes Mock Trial Team and prepares for competition
The Department of Political Science at the University of Louisiana at Monroe announces ULM’s first competitive Mock Trial Team.
The team, advised by ULM adjunct professor and local attorney Robert Noel, will compete in an open competition in Indianapolis, Ind., Jan. 25-27, and in a regional tournament in Jackson, Miss., Feb. 22-24.
The ULM Mock Trial Team (pictured left to right, beginning with the front row): Sharmaine Tramble of Monroe, Lizette Narvaez of Mission, Texas, Gabriel Silva of Barretos, Brazil, Myisha Myers of Monroe, Brooke Mohon of New Orleans; back row: Dylan Crowell of Metaire, Attorney Robert Noel, Ryan Lloyd of Winnsboro, Jonathan Cobb of West Monroe, and Gary Blaylock of Monroe.
Noel said the Mock Trial, which is a team-based, competitive trial simulation program, is a valuable learning experience for students.
“Academic competitions, such as a Mock Trial, provide students with the skills that enable them to compete in this century,” said Noel.
The Mock Trial is governed by the American Mock Trial Association and is comprised of a 10-member team of attorneys, witnesses, timekeepers, and alternates.
During the competition, team members act as litigators and witnesses arguing the case, calling friendly witnesses, and cross-examining hostile witnesses based on case theory developed in practice.
Judges, who are made up of lawyers and law-school students, score competing teams.
Noel, Dr. Joshua Stockley, associate professor of political science and director of the ULM Honors Program, Dr. John Sutherlin, associate professor of political science and co-director of the ULM Social Science Research Laboratory, led the effort to organize ULM’s chapter, hold tryouts, and prepare the team for competition in January.
Noel even donated the annual fee for membership in the American Mock Trial Association.
ULM's new Mock Trial program will prepare students for life after graduation, Stockley said.
“A recent review of the political science program revealed that 72 percent of our majors attend graduate school or law school upon graduation,” said Stockley.
“When we saw these numbers and we saw how successful our program has been in regards to law school, we asked ourselves what we could do as a department and as a university to prepare our students for law school. The answer Mr. Noel came up with was ‘mock trial’.”
Sutherlin said, “The goal is not just to develop an understanding of the American court system, but also to develop and to hone students' critical thinking and critical speaking skills – skills that are required to be successful even if you do not end up going to law school.”
ULM is only the fifth university in Louisiana with an AMTA-sanctioned Mock Trial team, joining Tulane University, Dillard University, Xavier University, and the University of New Orleans.
Tryouts for the 2012-2013 squad were held in November.
Team members include:
- Gary Blaylock, a junior political science major from Monroe;
- Jonathan Cobb, a junior political science major from West Monroe;
- Dylan Crowell, a junior history major from Metairie;
- Ryan Lloyd, a sophomore English major from Winnsboro;
- Brooke Mohon, a senior political science major from New Orleans;
- Myisha Myers, a senior criminal justice major from Monroe;
- Lizette Narvaez, a junior political science major from Mission, Texas;
- Gabriel Silva, a sophomore finance and political science double major from Barretos, Brazil;
- Sharmaine Tramble, a sophomore political science major from Monroe.
About the American Mock Trial Association:
The American Mock Trial Association was founded in 1985 by Drake Law School and serves as the governing body for intercollegiate mock trial competition.
AMTA hosts 24 regional tournaments, eight championship tournaments, and a national championship tournament each year featuring 600 teams from over 350 universities and colleges across the nation.
The season officially begins on August 15 when AMTA releases the season’s case problem containing witness statements, relevant laws, and evidence created by the AMTA Case Committee.
Teams compete at invitational tournaments from October until January in order to qualify for regional tournaments in February. The top seven teams from each Regional receive bids to the Opening Round Championship Series (ORCS) tournament in March.
After the ORCS round, the top six teams from each ORCS tournament will receive a bid to the National Championship Tournament in April. In 2012, Duke University won the national championship.
Photo of Robert Noel and Mock Trial team courtesy.