Over the weekend of October 23, the University of South Carolina School of Law Mock Trial team took home a win at the 2015 Carolinas Invitational Mock Trial Tournament. This is the team’s second consecutive win at the Carolinas Invitational and their third competitive win overall this calendar year. The team members at the competition included Jacob Godwin, Amanda Stearns, Colin Spangler, and Enoch Hicks led by faculty advisor Brett Bayne and alumni coach Monica Bracey. Law schools in the competition included University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, Georgia State, South Texas, Charlotte, and John Marshall.
“It means a great deal to win this competition again. It shows that our program and our system of teaching advocacy skills is working and is creating a recurring cycle of talented advocates ready to go out into the world,” Bayne said proudly. “…More than anything it shows how much work the students have put in and how skilled they have become because of all that hard work.”
“Hard work” includes meeting to practice up to four times a week about a month prior to the trial and meeting every day the week before the trial to conjure up theories and practice presentation skills. The team even gathered during the monumental flood that South Carolina faced at the beginning of the month when schools and roads were closed across the city, emphasizing their passion and dedication to their craft.
“Getting to try a case in front of a full courtroom and jury box was an experience not many students will have during their time in law school, especially not during their 2L year, and I am grateful for the chance to compete at such a high level with this program,” Spangler said. “The success we achieved would not have been possible without the hard work and dedication put in by each and every team member and our coaches.”
The case centered around a man throwing a Molotov cocktail into his ex-girlfriend’s house and subsequently murdering her daughter in doing so. Stearns and Godwin began the trial on the defensive, winning the initial rounds and allowing Spangler and Hicks to compete in the finals as the prosecution.
“Making it to the final round of the competition was an awesome experience. Enoch, Amanda, Jacob, and I all had made it our goal going into the competition to make it to the final round and bring the trophy back to USC,” Spangler said. “By relying on one another and our coaches, we were able to compete to the best of our abilities and achieve that goal.”
Mock Trial is more than just a competition to these law students, however. Students are able to take the skills they learn in the classroom and put them into action. They are able to prove to their peers and themselves that they are not just students, but future lawyers.
“Essentially, this is the culmination of everything I’ve learned in the past two and a half years…” Hicks said. “…Especially with Brett Bayne as our faculty adviser, and everything he’s taught us and been able to convey to us.”
Taking no breaks, the Mock Trial team is already preparing for an upcoming competition this November in Atlanta, Georgia, and will compete in several more competitions in the spring.