William and Mary Law School

Law Students Advance to Trial Team National Championship

A trial team from the William & Mary School of Law has advanced to the National Trial Competition next month in San Antonio, Texas. The William & Mary team - consisting of law students Melanie Friend, Claire Maddox and Virginia Vile -- is one of 26 teams from law schools across the country that made it through the regional round to advance to the national finals. William & Mary beat, among others, Georgetown University, Howard University and 11 other law schools to finish second in the regional match and advance to the national finals for the first time in school history. The University of Virginia finished first in the regional round.

One of the most prestigious trial competitions in the nation, the National Trial Competition is sponsored by the Texas Young Lawyers Association, which is a department of the State Bar of Texas. William & Mary will compete against 25 law schools that advanced from 13 different regional tournaments across the country. The event, which will be held March 3-April 2, was established in 1975 as a way to and strengthen students' advocacy skills through competition and interaction with members of the bench and bar. The program is designed to expose law students to the nature of trial practice -- the finalists are given a trial problem before arriving to the finals. The competition uses a real-life trial format, taking the students through all phases of a trial, from preparation of trial brief to jury arguments. This competition tests a student's knowledge of the rules of evidence, pleading and procedure.

While this is William & Mary's first appearance in the National Trial Competition, trial teams from the Law School have placed high in other national tournaments. In 2002, the William & Mary National Trial Team finished 12th overall in the National Finals of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America competition.