2L Colin Spangler invited to exclusive “Top Gun” Mock Trial Competition

Second-year students Colin Spangler and Clair Hollingsworth celebrate their victory at the 2016 TYLA regional competition.

Second-year students Colin Spangler and Clair Hollingsworth celebrate their victory at the 2016 TYLA regional competition.

For the second time in school history, a University of South Carolina School of Law student secured an invite to participate in the exclusive “Top Gun” Mock Trial Competition, hosted by the Baylor University School of Law.

Based on his exceptional performance and ultimate wins at the Carolinas Invitational Mock Trial Tournament in the Fall and the Texas Young Lawyers Association (TYLA) regional competition in the Spring, second-year student Colin Spangler will compete against 15 other hand-selected students over the five-day competition in June. The only other University of South Carolina law student to receive an invitation was Brett Bayne, current mock trial coach and adjunct professor.

“I’ve been knocking down Baylor’s door every year pitching our trial advocacy program, and Colin’s results can’t be ignored,” said Bayne. “In over a dozen trials, he had every judge rate him as the top student attorney—that’s unheard of.”

Unlike other mock trial competitions, participants do not receive the case file until they arrive in Waco, a mere 24 hours before the first round of trials begin. Preparation includes reviewing depositions, records, and photographs, and taking a trip to the actual places where events in the case supposedly occurred. Shortly before each round, competitors are assigned a witness or witnesses who may be used at their discretion during the round. The jurors for each round are distinguished trial lawyers and judges. Spangler will compete against representatives from Yale, Temple, NYU, and University of California at Berkeley, among others.

“I first heard of this competition back when I was competing in mock trial at the undergraduate level. It was the premiere mock trial competition in the nation, and I made it my goal to one day be invited to compete. I am excited and honored to represent USC at the national level,” said Spangler. “The success I have seen this past year, including the invite to Top Gun, would not be possible without the extraordinary help I received along the way. This past year I had the pleasure of working  extensively with Monica Bracey, Kinli and Matt Abee, and Brett. Without their help and constant support, competing at Top Gun would still be just a dream. 

“I would be remiss if I failed to mention the other students who have been there every step of the way.  Clair Hollingsworth, my mock trial partner and fellow 2L, was responsible for much of the success our team saw at the TYLA regional and national competition. Although Top

Gun allows for only a single attorney to compete, I will not forget that without her, this opportunity and the success we achieved this past year would not be possible.”