After completing five trials in only two and a half days, University of South Carolina School of Law students Alexa Kluska, Bruce Burk, Monica Bracey and Phylicia Woods took first place at the third annual Carolinas Invitational Mock Trial Competition in Charlotte, North Carolina.
The Mock Trial Bar won unanimously in both the semifinal and final rounds. A total of seven other schools from Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia also competed in the competition.
Brett Bayne, a 2011 School of Law alumnus and current adjunct professor of Trial Advocacy, has been coaching the mock trial team since January 2013 and was proud to have been involved in the victory.
Victory, however, did not come without rigorous preparation by the team’s members. According to Bayne, preparation began about 40 days before the competition, during which students met about three to four times per week. At practice, students had to break down the parts of the trial packet for each team member, prepare direct and cross examinations for three witnesses, as well as opening statements and closing arguments. They also spent a great deal of time working with the Federal Rules of Evidence, and creating objections and responses to the file materials from the trial packet.
The team’s sweeping victory suggests that this preparation paid off. Phylicia Woods was victorious in more ways than one, winning 14 straight objections, and Alexa Kluska—competing in her first ever competition—was named “Best Overall Advocate” for the entire competition.
With this victory to build upon, the Mock Trial Bar is looking forward to sending teams to upcoming competitions, including the Buffalo Niagara Competition in November, and the TYLA National Trial Competition, AAJ Student Trial Advocacy Competition, and the South Texas Challenge in the spring of 2015.