The Ursinus College Intercollegiate Mock Trial team received the highest award bestowed by the American Mock Trial Association (AMTA), The Spirit of the AMTA award, at the conclusion of the regional competition in the Lancaster County Courthouse Feb. 16-17.
The Spirit award is voted on by the competition teams and officials, and recognizes the Ursinus team as best exemplifying the ethics and values of the association. Among the 17 schools competing in the regional event were 24 teams, from area schools plus Harvard, Yale, Columbia and Johns Hopkins.
“Everyone performed extremely well,” said James Baer, Class of 1966, Attorney in Residence who serves as coordinator for the team. “We did well, scoring over 100 points on almost every ballot and tying two rounds. But what I am most proud of is the Spirit award, recognizing our ethics and values. ” According to AMTA, the award is given to the team that best expresses the values of civility, justice and fair play over the course of the whole tournament, before, during and after trials.
Ursinus President Bobby Fong offered a congratulations to the team. “This is a signal achievement for a program only begun last academic year. You have brought signal honor to the College,” he wrote. Ursinus became a participating member of the AMTA in July 2011.
Team Captain Brandon Adorno said that to be successful at a mock trial, “a knowledge of the case, inside and out, is essential. Those who are successful at Mock Trial are those who display intellectual skills, public speaking ability, and the talent to think on your feet. Although going against such well-established teams in the tournament such as Temple University, Johns Hopkins, Hunter College, and Drexel University is incredibly nerve-wracking, the Ursinus team performed at their best and was only a few
points away from securing every round.”
The AMTA award, Adorno added, “truly speaks of how happy we were to compete and how much we love the mock trial program.”
The members of the intercollegiate team with Adorno are Meghan Strong, Ethan Wright, Atticus Graven, Kaley Miller-Schaeffer, Uli Luxem, Brighid Fitzpatrick, Nicholas Macksoud, Sophie Zander and Sarah Godfrey. The team was coached by junior Valentina Nicolo, Holly Smith, Class of 2013, and assisted by attorney Michelle Stranen, Class of 2005.
The Ursinus College Pre-Legal Center is directed by Baer and Associate Professor of Politics and International Relations Houghton Kane. The Center is charged with expanding and forming new initiatives to support pre-law students. It has launched an alumni group of mentors for students, and in addition to Mock Trial, offers LSAT preparation and a Moot Court program.