Thomas Jefferson School of Law’s Mock Trial Team Excels in National Competition
- Mei Owen, Jimmy Praley, Pratik Shah, and Ashley Whitham
They shuffled off to Buffalo, and came back with third place!
Thomas Jefferson School of Law’s Mock Trial team is celebrating its third place achievement after five rounds of competition at one of the most prestigious invitation competitions in the nation hosted by the University at Buffalo Law School in Buffalo, NY, on November 11 - 14.
The competition took place at Buffalo City Court and featured a combination civil/criminal competition involving four-member teams from 32 law schools representing 15 states. The TJSL team took third place in the criminal division, which focused on the case of an angry band member on trial for the murder of the band’s cancer-stricken, rock star singer, who canceled a big reunion tour that would have made millions.
TJSL Adjunct Professor and Mock Trial Program Director Jane Siegel is extremely proud of her team. “We accomplished a lot at the 7th Buffalo-Niagara National Mock Trial Competition by beating some of the top rated schools in the country,” Siegel said. “Students Jimmy Praley, Ashley Whitham, Pratik Shah and Mei Owen did us unbelievably proud.”
Second-year law student Pratik Shah won the individual award for best cross examination. Points were given for civility/professionalism in the courtroom. “The competition was an amazing experience,” says Shah. “Hopefully, we will get the opportunity to compete in Buffalo-Niagara again next year.”
The TJSL team outperformed Temple Law School, the number one trial advocacy school in the country, according to Siegel. The TJSL team also beat Florida, Villanova, Temple, and several other highly ranked schools. While gearing up for this competition, each TJSL student practiced at least 12 hours per week.
“The entire team is to be commended for the countless additional hours that they put in on weekends and other times on their own initiative,” Siegel noted.
Coach Lisa (Dorneker) Moffat, a 2007 TJSL alumna who currently works for the San Diego County District Attorney's Office, traveled with the team to New York and, according to Siegel, “Moffat held the team together during an extremely exhausting and challenging competition.”
“Congratulations also go to the rest of the Mock Trial team,” says Professor Siegel, “for all of their support in acting as sparring partners to keep the participants sharp. Way to go!”