Trial Teams Deliver Professional Competitive Advantage in All Fields

Moot Court, Mock Trial and Mediation teams provide students with opportunities to hone skills that deliver a professional edge in any major
April 19th, 2018 by 

Mock Trial team members prepare for regional tournament.
Mock Trial team members prepare for the American Mock Trial Association's Regional Tournament. Photo by Darwin Contreras

On July 16, 2017, Charley Waters saw everything. Waters witnessed Kerry Bell-Leon — the victim — argue with a known drug dealer at around 10:30 p.m., before entering the Jaywood Building through the back door. Later, Waters witnessed a person matching the description of the defendant access that same entrance. Later still, Waters watched an unidentified individual leave the building, then toss something into a dumpster behind the Jaywood, before running off. There, Detective Nichols located the pistol, which connects the defendant to the crime.

It’s an open-and-shut case for the prosecution, led by Mock Trial co-captains Ajit Bhullar ’18 and Jessica Russo ’19 — except the whole story is hearsay.

Founded in 1997, and endowed by a generous gift from Agnes N. Williams, Mock Trial is one of three competitive trial teams at the College, along with The Hon. Joseph F. Greene Jr. ’51, P81, 84 Moot Court Program (2003) — recently endowed by Michael Greene ’84, a member of the Board of Trustees, in honor of and named after his father, a retired New Jersey Superior Court Judge — and the Mediation team (2014). All three are now under the auspices of the J.D. Power Center for Liberal Arts in the World and provide students with opportunities to hone skills that deliver a professional edge regardless of whether participants pursue a law career, according to Mock Trial coach and attorney Ed McDermott ’79, P10, 13.

“Experiential learning in a courtroom setting provides our students yet another advantage over their peers elsewhere: practice in a professional setting in which they compete against the nation’s most elite schools and most talented students,” explains McDermott, who also coaches the Mediation team. “Our students leave the College ready for success in any industry, especially the many fulfilling and badly needed professions that require skills in writing, speech, persuasion and team effort.”

Attorney and Moot Court team coach John O’Donnell ’04 says students who participate in Moot competition are given a unique opportunity to enhance their communication, reasoning, organization and public speaking prowess.

“By studying both sides of a legal dispute, students are forced to consider the pros and cons of a specific argument,” he says. “And by presenting their arguments to a panel of judges who can ask questions and interact with the students, the students develop the critical skill of effective communication by answering questions directly and thoroughly in order to become more effective advocates.”

Through the reading of case law and development of arguments, Moot Court students learn to distill complex legal positions into simple arguments that can be understood in a 10-minute oral argument. Students work in pairs, and O’Donnell notes the program this year is fielding its largest turnout ever — 13 teams.

The inclusion of the popular Moot, Mock and Mediation programs under the J.D. Power Center could expand the teams’ appeal even further, McDermott says.

“Students that might otherwise say, ‘You know what, I got that email from the prelaw society about some info session for Mock. I’m not going to law school, so I’m not going to go.’ But now, as part of the J.D. Power Center for Liberal Arts in the World, they’ll look at it twice and say, ‘Maybe oratorical skills and critical analytical skills may be a good idea to look into,'” he notes.

Interested students are guided to the programs that best suit them. Mock participants, who must argue trial cases, might possess a disposition that differs from the those who thrive in Moot (for appellate cases) or Mediation (resolving disputes outside of court). The Moot and Mediation teams have each placed as high as 2nd in national tournaments as recently as 2016. Earlier this year, the American Moot Court Association ranked Holy Cross as the seventh strongest program in the nation. Mock teams finished first in 2003 at the American Mock Trial Association (AMTA) Regional Tournament and have competed at AMTA Nationals several times (2001, 2003, 2004, 2014-17).

“Hearsay,” states co-captain Bhullar during a Saturday practice in Stein Hall. “Detective Nichols was not at the scene of the murder, the attempted murder. Any information that you’ve accumulated at the scene of the crime could get the same objection.”

McDermott, playing judge for the afternoon practice, challenged the team to find work-arounds, which proved critical as the students built their case around the timeline the detective created, one now deemed potentially inadmissible. It was time to put practice into action, think on their feet and maneuver the facts at hand as best they could to keep their argument sound.

“Almost as soon as our students begin their academic careers at Holy Cross, especially in the Montserrat program, they hone their oral and written persuasion abilities by building on native talents and developing new ones,” McDermott explains. “Therefore, our students can pivot their arguments to adjust to any pace or style on the fly during trials. In short, polish, preparation and professionalism distinguish Holy Cross and set us apart from the crowd.”

Learn more about the J.D. Power Center for Liberal Arts in the World and its dynamic offerings below:

Written by Christopher Amenta ’06 for the Spring 2018 issue of Holy Cross Magazine.


About Holy Cross Magazine

Holy Cross Magazine (HCM) is the quarterly alumni publication of the College of the Holy Cross. The award-winning publication is mailed to alumni and friends of the College and includes intriguing profiles, make-you-think features, alumni news, exclusive photos and more. Visit magazine.holycross.edu/about to contact HCM, submit alumni class notes, milestones, or letters to the editor.

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Rodin:Truth, Form, Life/Selections from the Iris and B. Gerald Collections
3/13/2019
175th Anniversary
O'Kane Hall Cantor Art Gallery
The inaugural exhibition of the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Art Gallery...
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Faculty Conversation Series-175th Anniversary
3/14/2019
175th Anniversary
Dinand Library Faculty Room
Subject: EloquenceFaculty Conversation Series on Ignatian Pedagogy. The...
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Rodin:Truth, Form, Life/Selections from the Iris and B. Gerald Collections
3/14/2019
175th Anniversary
O'Kane Hall Cantor Art Gallery
The inaugural exhibition of the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Art Gallery...
See More >>


Holy Cross College Choir Concert
3/15/2019
Music
St Joseph Memorial Chapel St Joseph Chapel
The Holy Cross Choirs are back from their tour down the East...
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Rodin:Truth, Form, Life/Selections from the Iris and B. Gerald Collections
3/15/2019
175th Anniversary
O'Kane Hall Cantor Art Gallery
The inaugural exhibition of the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Art Gallery...
See More >>


Rodin: Truth, Form, Life/Selections from the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Collections
3/16/2019
175th Anniversary
O'Kane Hall Cantor Art Gallery 2
The inaugural exhibition of the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Art Gallery...
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Organ concert - Benjamin Alard
3/17/2019
Music
St Joseph Memorial Chapel St Joseph Chapel
Benjamin Alard, OrganistChurch: Saint-Louis-en-Île,...
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Rodin: Truth, Form, Life/Selections from the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Collections
3/17/2019
175th Anniversary
O'Kane Hall Cantor Art Gallery 2
The inaugural exhibition of the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Art Gallery...
See More >>


Rodin:Truth, Form, Life/Selections from the Iris and B. Gerald Collections
3/18/2019
175th Anniversary
O'Kane Hall Cantor Art Gallery
The inaugural exhibition of the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Art Gallery...
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EY On-Campus Interviews
3/18/2019
Center for Career Development
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center 404
Description:Visit Crusader Connections to view summer opportunities...
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EY On-Campus Interviews
3/18/2019
Center for Career Development
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center 405
Description:Visit Crusader Connections to view summer opportunities...
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Reading by Emilie Pine
3/19/2019
English
Carol and Park B. Smith Hall Rehm Lib
Open to the Public
See More >>


Lecture: Rev. Orobator, S.J., on Religion and Faith in Africa
3/19/2019
McFarland Center for Religion
Carol and Park B. Smith Hall Rehm Lib
Drawing on his most recent book, “Religion and Faith...
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Rodin:Truth, Form, Life/Selections from the Iris and B. Gerald Collections
3/19/2019
175th Anniversary
O'Kane Hall Cantor Art Gallery
The inaugural exhibition of the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Art Gallery...
See More >>


Lecture: Irish Advocate for Sexual Abuse Victims Talks Therapy, Treatment and Prevention
3/20/2019
McFarland Center for Religion
Carol and Park B. Smith Hall Rehm Lib
Open to the Public
See More >>


Rodin:Truth, Form, Life/Selections from the Iris and B. Gerald Collections
3/20/2019
175th Anniversary
O'Kane Hall Cantor Art Gallery
The inaugural exhibition of the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Art Gallery...
See More >>


Rodin:Truth, Form, Life/Selections from the Iris and B. Gerald Collections
3/21/2019
175th Anniversary
O'Kane Hall Cantor Art Gallery
The inaugural exhibition of the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Art Gallery...
See More >>


Rodin:Truth, Form, Life/Selections from the Iris and B. Gerald Collections
3/22/2019
175th Anniversary
O'Kane Hall Cantor Art Gallery
The inaugural exhibition of the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Art Gallery...
See More >>


Rodin: Truth, Form, Life/Selections from the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Collections
3/23/2019
175th Anniversary
O'Kane Hall Cantor Art Gallery 2
The inaugural exhibition of the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Art Gallery...
See More >>


Rodin: Truth, Form, Life/Selections from the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Collections
3/24/2019
175th Anniversary
O'Kane Hall Cantor Art Gallery 2
The inaugural exhibition of the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Art Gallery...
See More >>


MPE Meeting
3/25/2019
Office of Multicultural Education
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center Suite B/C - 4th Fl
Open to the Public
See More >>


MPE Meeting (Event canceled)
3/25/2019
Office of Multicultural Education
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center 304(05)
Open to Campus Community Only
See More >>


Rodin:Truth, Form, Life/Selections from the Iris and B. Gerald Collections
3/25/2019
175th Anniversary
O'Kane Hall Cantor Art Gallery
The inaugural exhibition of the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Art Gallery...
See More >>


Rodin:Truth, Form, Life/Selections from the Iris and B. Gerald Collections
3/26/2019
175th Anniversary
O'Kane Hall Cantor Art Gallery
The inaugural exhibition of the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Art Gallery...
See More >>


Rodin:Truth, Form, Life/Selections from the Iris and B. Gerald Collections
3/27/2019
175th Anniversary
O'Kane Hall Cantor Art Gallery
The inaugural exhibition of the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Art Gallery...
See More >>


Lecture: Peter Phan on Theology of the Church in the Age of Migration
3/28/2019
McFarland Center for Religion
Carol and Park B. Smith Hall Rehm Lib
Peter Phan is the inaugural holder of the Ignacio Ellacuria Chair...
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Rodin:Truth, Form, Life/Selections from the Iris and B. Gerald Collections
3/28/2019
175th Anniversary
O'Kane Hall Cantor Art Gallery
The inaugural exhibition of the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Art Gallery...
See More >>


175th Jesuits and Music Concert
3/29/2019
Music
St Joseph Memorial Chapel St Joseph Chapel
Many Holy Cross musical ensembles and performers will join...
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Rodin:Truth, Form, Life/Selections from the Iris and B. Gerald Collections
3/29/2019
175th Anniversary
O'Kane Hall Cantor Art Gallery
The inaugural exhibition of the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Art Gallery...
See More >>


Rodin: Truth, Form, Life/Selections from the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Collections
3/30/2019
175th Anniversary
O'Kane Hall Cantor Art Gallery 2
The inaugural exhibition of the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Art Gallery...
See More >>


Rodin: Truth, Form, Life/Selections from the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Collections
3/31/2019
175th Anniversary
O'Kane Hall Cantor Art Gallery 2
The inaugural exhibition of the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Art Gallery...
See More >>


Lecture: Cornell Historian Derek Chang on Asians in the Jim Crow South
4/1/2019
McFarland Center for Religion
Carol and Park B. Smith Hall Rehm Lib
Open to the Public
See More >>


Conference on Liberal Arts Education
4/1/2019
Political Science
Dinand Library Levis Browsing Room
What is the role of Great Books in a liberal arts education? Are...
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Once in a Lifetime
4/1/2019
Theatre
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center Lobby Table 1
LOBBY TABLE - Once in a LifetimeBy George S. Kaufman and...
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Rodin:Truth, Form, Life/Selections from the Iris and B. Gerald Collections
4/1/2019
175th Anniversary
O'Kane Hall Cantor Art Gallery
The inaugural exhibition of the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Art Gallery...
See More >>


53rd Annual Hanify-Howland Lecture
4/2/2019
Hanify-Howland Memorial Lecture
Holy Cross Campus
The 53rd annual Hanify-Howland Memorial Lecture will be held April 2, 2019 in the...
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Conference: Readings from the Roots, on Bible Translation and Its Impact
4/2/2019
McFarland Center for Religion
Carol and Park B. Smith Hall Rehm Lib
This two-day conference highlights a new, historically-sensitive...
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Once in a Lifetime
4/2/2019
Theatre
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center Lobby Table 1
LOBBY TABLE - Once in a LifetimeBy George S. Kaufman and...
See More >>


Rodin:Truth, Form, Life/Selections from the Iris and B. Gerald Collections
4/2/2019
175th Anniversary
O'Kane Hall Cantor Art Gallery
The inaugural exhibition of the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Art Gallery...
See More >>


Once in a Lifetime
4/3/2019
Theatre
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center Lobby Table 1
LOBBY TABLE - Once in a LifetimeBy George S. Kaufman and...
See More >>


Rodin:Truth, Form, Life/Selections from the Iris and B. Gerald Collections
4/3/2019
175th Anniversary
O'Kane Hall Cantor Art Gallery
The inaugural exhibition of the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Art Gallery...
See More >>


Conference: Readings from the Roots, on Bible Translation and Its Impact
4/3/2019
McFarland Center for Religion
Carol and Park B. Smith Hall Rehm Lib
Readings from the Roots is a new, historically-sensitive translation...
See More >>


Once in a Lifetime
4/4/2019
Theatre
O'Kane Hall Fenwick Theatre
Once in a Lifetime By George S. Kaufman and Moss HartApril 4-6 &...
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Ira Sukrungruang
4/4/2019
English
Carol and Park B. Smith Hall Rehm Lib
Open to the Public
See More >>


Once in a Lifetime
4/4/2019
Theatre
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center Lobby Table 1
LOBBY TABLE - Once in a LifetimeBy George S. Kaufman and...
See More >>


Rodin:Truth, Form, Life/Selections from the Iris and B. Gerald Collections
4/4/2019
175th Anniversary
O'Kane Hall Cantor Art Gallery
The inaugural exhibition of the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Art Gallery...
See More >>


Once in a Lifetime
4/5/2019
Theatre
O'Kane Hall Fenwick Theatre
Once in a Lifetime By George S. Kaufman and Moss HartApril 4-6 &...
See More >>


Once in a Lifetime
4/5/2019
Theatre
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center Lobby Table 1
LOBBY TABLE - Once in a LifetimeBy George S. Kaufman and...
See More >>


Rodin:Truth, Form, Life/Selections from the Iris and B. Gerald Collections
4/5/2019
175th Anniversary
O'Kane Hall Cantor Art Gallery
The inaugural exhibition of the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Art Gallery...
See More >>


Once in a Lifetime
4/6/2019
Theatre
O'Kane Hall Fenwick Theatre
Once in a Lifetime By George S. Kaufman and Moss HartApril 4-6 &...
See More >>


Rodin: Truth, Form, Life/Selections from the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Collections
4/6/2019
175th Anniversary
O'Kane Hall Cantor Art Gallery 2
The inaugural exhibition of the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Art Gallery...
See More >>


Rodin: Truth, Form, Life/Selections from the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Collections
4/7/2019
175th Anniversary
O'Kane Hall Cantor Art Gallery 2
The inaugural exhibition of the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Art Gallery...
See More >>


COPE Well Week
4/8/2019
Counseling Center
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center 402(03)
Open to Campus Community Only
See More >>


MPE Meeting (Event canceled)
4/8/2019
Office of Multicultural Education
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center 304(05)
Open to Campus Community Only
See More >>


MPE Meeting
4/8/2019
Office of Multicultural Education
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center Suite B/C - 4th Fl
Open to the Public
See More >>


Once in a Lifetime
4/8/2019
Theatre
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center Lobby Table 2
LOBBY TABLE - Once in a LifetimeBy George S. Kaufman and...
See More >>


Hester/Craig Debate
4/9/2019
McFarland Center for Religion
Kimball Hall Seelos Theater
Is theistic belief rational in a scientific age? Listen in on a conversation...
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COPE Well Week
4/9/2019
Counseling Center
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center 402(03)
Open to Campus Community Only
See More >>


Once in a Lifetime
4/9/2019
Theatre
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center Lobby Table 2
LOBBY TABLE - Once in a LifetimeBy George S. Kaufman and...
See More >>


COPE Well Week
4/10/2019
Counseling Center
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center 401
Open to Campus Community Only
See More >>


Once in a Lifetime
4/10/2019
Theatre
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center Lobby Table 2
LOBBY TABLE - Once in a LifetimeBy George S. Kaufman and...
See More >>


Once in a Lifetime
4/11/2019
Theatre
O'Kane Hall Fenwick Theatre
Once in a Lifetime By George S. Kaufman and Moss HartApril 4-6 &...
See More >>


Lecture: Glenn Loury on the Ethics of Affirmative Action Policies in Higher Education
4/11/2019
McFarland Center for Religion
Carol and Park B. Smith Hall Rehm Lib
Glenn Loury, the Merton P. Stoltz Professor of the Social Sciences,...
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COPE Well Week
4/11/2019
Counseling Center
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center 304(05)
Open to Campus Community Only
See More >>


Once in a Lifetime
4/11/2019
Theatre
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center Lobby Table 2
LOBBY TABLE - Once in a LifetimeBy George S. Kaufman and...
See More >>


Once in a Lifetime
4/12/2019
Theatre
O'Kane Hall Fenwick Theatre
Once in a Lifetime By George S. Kaufman and Moss HartApril 4-6 &...
See More >>


Once in a Lifetime
4/12/2019
Theatre
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center Lobby Table 2
LOBBY TABLE - Once in a LifetimeBy George S. Kaufman and...
See More >>


Once in a Lifetime
4/13/2019
Theatre
O'Kane Hall Fenwick Theatre
Once in a Lifetime By George S. Kaufman and Moss HartApril 4-6 &...
See More >>


Holy Cross Jazz Ensemble Spring Concert
4/16/2019
Music
Brooks Music Center CONCERT HA
An evening of Big Band Jazz music that plays from the Classic to the...
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Holy Cross Orchestra Concert
4/24/2019
Music
St Joseph Memorial Chapel St Joseph Chapel
The Holy Cross College Orchestra will perform Tchaikovsky’s...
See More >>


Academic Conference
4/24/2019
Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs
Haberlin Hall 219
Open to the Public
See More >>


Academic Conference
4/24/2019
Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs
O'Neil Hall 112
Open to the Public
See More >>


Academic Conference
4/24/2019
Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs
Smith Laboratories 155
Open to the Public
See More >>


Academic Conference
4/24/2019
Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs
Smith Laboratories 154
Open to the Public
See More >>


H-CLEF Concert
4/26/2019
Music
Brooks Music Center CONCERT HA
Join the Holy Cross Laptop Ensemble Federation for an evening of silent...
See More >>


Holy Cross College Choir Concert
4/27/2019
Music
St Joseph Memorial Chapel St Joseph Chapel
Giacomo Carissimi was the first great composer of oratorios,...
See More >>


Chapel Artist Series Organ Concert - Pavel Kohout
4/28/2019
Music
St Joseph Memorial Chapel St Joseph Chapel
Pavel Kohout, OrganistInternational Concert Organist, Prague,...
See More >>


MPE Meeting
4/29/2019
Office of Multicultural Education
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center 406(09)
Open to the Public
See More >>


Dance Concert
5/1/2019
Theatre
O'Kane Hall Fenwick Theatre
Dance ConcertMay 1 at 7:00 PM and 9:00 PMFenwick Theatre – 2nd...
See More >>


Romantic Exile and Transnational Celebrity
5/2/2019
English
Dinand Library Levis Browsing Room
Omar Miranda, assistant professor of English at the University of...
See More >>


175th Anniversary Scavenger Hunt
5/17/2019
Featured Employee
Outdoor starting at Hogan
This Scavenger Hunt is being put on by the Mission and Identity Subcommittee...
See More >>

See All