TJSL’s Mock Trial team made the “final four” of the National Trial Competition by reaching the semi-finals of the event, held in San Antonio, Texas the weekend of April 5.
It was a historic run - the highest ever finish for TJSL in this prestigious competition, held by the Texas Young Lawyers Association (TYLA.)
After defeating University of Akron School of Law, Samford University Thurgood Marshall School of Law, and Cumberland School of Law in the preliminary rounds, TJSL survived the cut from 28 teams down to eight quarter-finalists, then to four semi-finalists. TJSL defeated Cumberland School of Law again in the quarterfinal round before falling to Loyola-Chicago School of Law in the semi-finals. The TJSL team won a semi-finalist Silver Bowl as well as a $1,500 cash prize.
More than 300 teams competed in regional tournaments across the country for the 28 spots in the national tournament. TJSL took the Region 14 crown in February at the University of Arizona School of Law for a spot in the national competition.
The national problem was a fictitious case titled, State of Lone Star v. John Martin M.D. The State charged Dr. Martin with one count of manslaughter for the death of legendary entertainer and musician David Kitner Sr. The State intended to prove that Dr. Martin recklessly caused the death of David Kitner after injecting him with a lethal combination of drugs—Propofol and Adrenaline—while consciously disregarding the substantial risk that the combination of drugs would cause a lethal heart attack. Dr. Martin denied giving Mr. Kitner any medications and argued that the state failed to meet its burden because it could not eliminate the possibility that Mr. Kitner injected himself with Propofol after Dr. Martin left his medical bag in Mr. Kitner’s room, or that David Kitner Jr.—the son of the entertainer—was involved in his father’s ingestion of the drugs.
“Competing against the best law schools in the country was an incredible experience that I will carry with me for the rest of my life,” said Robert Sagerian, TJSL’s Team Captain. “I cannot thank coaches Professor Lilys McCoy and Professor Lea Fields-Bernard enough for their tireless dedication to ensuring our success at competition, but also as legal professionals. I would also like to thank my teammates, Michael Fabinski and Jay B Campbell for all of their hard work. They are outstanding individuals both inside and outside the courtroom. Lastly, I would like to thank the TJSL administration and student body for their support, as well as the numerous guests lent a helping hand in the months leading up to the national competition...we cannot thank you enough for your involvement.”
“As a team, we never allowed ourselves to stop believing in what we were capable of accomplishing, said Michael Fabinski. "We stayed focused on achieving our goal to represent our school and to come home winners. The entire experience was absolutely remarkable. Coach McCoy and Coach Fields-Bernard deserve so much recognition for giving up their nights and weekends to support us and challenge us to continuously improve. What they were able to accomplish in their first year as coaches is truly special. This really did feel like a Cinderella story,” added Fabinski. “I could not have asked for better teammates and friends, to share this experience with.”
“Competing at nationals was an awesome experience,” said Jay B Campbell. “The teams there were the 28 best in the country, coming from schools like Georgetown, Fordham and Stanford. It was great to not only hold our own against some of the best law schools in the country, but to beat out 24 of them to finish in the top four of the competition. Big kudos to my two fellow competitors and friends Robert Sagerian and Mike Fabinski, and our wonderful coaches Coach McCoy and Coach Fields Bernard. Thanks also go out to all my other mock trial teammates, all the students who volunteered to play our witnesses, all the members of the San Diego legal community who came to help us in our practices, and the entire TJSL community for its continued love and support.”
Congratulations to the TJSL Mock Trial Team from Everyone in the TJSL family!