Lexington, VA • Wednesday, November 23, 2005
By Lauren Troxclair, 3L
Law News Staff Writer
On Friday, November 11th the Moot Court Executive Board hosted the final round of the Annual Mock Trial Competition. Sarah Floyd, 2L, won the competition and Tamara Graham, 3L, was the first runner-up. Diana Grimes, 2L, and Joshua Nettinga, 2L, also competed in the final round of the competition. The Honorable Joseph Goodwin, United States District Judge for the Southern District of West Virginia, presided. Annalee Levine, 3L and Katie Tritschler, 3L were this year’s Mock Trial Administrators.
Left to right: Mock trial first runner-up Tamara Graham 3L, Judge Joseph Goodwin, and mock trial winner Sarah Floyd 2L.
The annual competition provides participating students with the opportunity to plan litigation strategies, practice litigation techniques, prepare witnesses and conduct a trial. The Mock Trial problem involved a slander and libel case in which a partner at a law firm, Lukas Reiter, claimed that another partner, Richard McKyton, made oral and written statements to the firm’s partners alleging that Reiter was engaged in an adulterous affair that was harmful to the firm. McKyton admitted making the oral and written statements but asserted two affirmative defenses—that the statements were true and qualified immunity.
Competitors each received a copy of the problem and prepared motions in limine, delivered either an opening or a closing statement and conducted both direct and cross-examinations. Competitors were expected to argue the Federal Rules of Evidence and to follow proper courtroom procedures. Competitors were judged on their overall effectiveness as a trial advocate.
“This was the best mock trial I have ever seen,” said Judge Goodwin, who has presided over several previous W&L Mock Trial Competitions.
This year’s competition started with 50 competitors from the 2L and 3L classes. Eight competitors advanced to the semifinals. In the semifinal round, Professors Carodine, Groot and Shaughnessy judged the competitors. Levine noted that the Moot Court Board was honored it had the opportunity to work with Professor Groot, who judged and presided over the semifinals. Groot passed away from natural causes the day after the competition.
“The Mock Trial Administrators and competitors will be better lawyers as a result of Professor Groot’s presence in this year’s contest. He taught us lessons we will take far beyond this competition,” Levine said.
The Moot Court Board would like to thank all of the jurors, the bailiff, the witnesses and the members of the W&L community who came out to support the competitors in the final round.