Holy Cross Mock Trial Celebrates First Place Finish in Invitational Tournament at Coast Guard Academy

November 1st, 2012 by David Cotrone ’13

The College of the Holy Cross placed first in the sixth annual Guardian Invitational Mock Trial tournament, which was held at the Coast Guard Academy in New London, Conn. from Oct. 19 – 24. With two teams participating in over four rounds of competition, Holy Cross came out on top in a case which focused on a fictional civil wrongful death case involving a deep sea diving accident.

In addition to the team award, four students received individual honors: Kelsey Russell ‘13, Alex O’Hara ‘13 and Matthew Regan ‘15 were each named “Best Attorney.” Sean Griffin ‘16 was named “Best Witness,” beating out nearly 100 other competitors. Receiving the highest cumulative ranks from the judges after successfully navigating direct examinations and cross-examinations, Griffin explains that in order to win the case, “everybody had to be on the same page, know their role and objective and work together to present a case that was coherent, logical and convincing.”

Fourteen schools competed in the tournament, and each team prepared to argue the case as both plaintiffs and defendants while acting as attorneys and witnesses. With members of the legal community judging the competition, the Holy Cross teams successfully pled their cases, finishing with records of 7-0-1 and 6-2, respectively.

“This is a great start to the season,” said Scott Sandstrom, professor of accounting and coordinator of the mock trial program at the College of the Holy Cross. “Hopefully we can build on the momentum.”

“We are all very proud of what we accomplished,” Griffin continues. “However, we know that we still have a lot of work to do. Teams from other schools will continue to improve, and if we become complacent we won’t do well in the tournaments ahead.”

In addition to Holy Cross and the Coast Guard Academy, other schools that participated in the Guardian Invitational were Yale University, Seton Hall University (2 teams), University of Massachusetts, Amherst (2 teams), Amherst College (2 teams), LaFayette College (2 teams), Fordham University, La Salle University, University of Connecticut, Rutgers University (2 teams), University of Hartford (2 teams), Quinnipiac University (2 teams) and Colby College.

The team is coached by Edward McDermott ‘79 and James Healy ‘80, visiting lecturers in the Center for Interdisciplinary and Special Studies (CISS) who co-teach “Legal Reasoning and Rhetoric,” a course on how to craft sound legal arguments. Throughout the past 15 seasons the College has accrued more than 25 team awards, 70 individual awards and has made nine appearances at the National Championship Tournament.

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