The Collegian
Thursday, October 29, 2020

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University mock trial places 2nd at U.Va. invitational

The University of Richmond defeated 22 other mock trial teams and won second place at the Great American Mock Trial Invitational, hosted by the University of Virginia on Nov. 1 and 2.

During mock trial competitions, teams of six to eight people -- only six are involved at a time -- participate in trial simulations with other colleges. The simulations are intended to teach critical thinking and public speaking skills, as well as knowledge of the legal process.

The team defeated defending champion team from Washington and Lee University, the two-time national-champion, University of Virginia, and traditional powerhouses such as College of William & Mary, Harvard University and Furman University.

Despite losing members who went abroad, the team has been successful this year because they stacked the teams to make sure the stronger members were on the first team, said Katy Groover, team captain. Also, they have started a new tradition before tournaments during which they do a New Zealand chant, called a Haka, which is basically a war chant.

"Going in we just felt lucky to be there," Groover said. "We weren't expecting to do well and when they announced that we came in second at the awards ceremony it was a great surprise."

The team was also awarded an individual win for Outstanding Witness, won by junior Bill Cable.

This award means that Cable was one of the best performing witnesses. The witness must be able to get into character and be able to properly answer questions without folding over.

"There is a lot more that goes into being a witness that sitting and talking," Cable said.

Witnesses need to know a lot about the law and trial process, Cable said, sometimes even more than the lawyers themselves.

The mock trial process helps for law school, said Cable, who hopes to go to law school.

Everyone on Richmond's two mock trial teams is in a half-unit class together that meets Monday nights. Team members will also meet additional times the week before a tournament. They are coached by Donald Martin, an attorney for McGuireWoods.

In two weeks, the mock trial team will be competing at Duke University, where they hope to do well, Groover said. Richmond also came in fifth at Elon University this year and won the Southern Hospitality Award, which means that the other teams they competed against thought they were the best to work with. Groover, a junior, also won two attorney awards.

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The mock trial team is looking to increase its numbers to accommodate at least three teams. A lot of members will be coming back from abroad next semester.

"We got off to a much more focused start this year," Cable said. "It usually takes us a few tournaments to get warmed up, but not this year. We're always looking for new people and new talent though."

Contact staff writer Alexandra Varipapa at alexandra.varipapa@richmond.edu

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