For the third time, the William & Mary National Trial Team won the Academy of Trial Lawyers for Allegheny County Annual Mock Trial Competition. Brandon Boxler '11, Joshua DeFord '10, and Jessica Hass '10 competed at the U.S. Federal Courthouse in Pittsburgh, PA, on Feb. 20 against sixteen teams, including teams from the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Akron. Judge Thomas Hardiman from the Third Circuit Court of Appeals presided over the championship round.
The competition is unique because all rounds are presided over by federal judges, the trials last all day, and the competitors argue pretrial motions in judges' chambers. In addition, two-thirds of the witnesses for each side are provided by the competition, and a physician plays one of those witness roles. The competitors' abilities to prepare in advance are thus significantly limited, and they have to adapt quickly on their feet throughout the competition.
Many of the scoring judges praised DeFord and Boxler for their passionate advocacy, courtroom presence, and quick thinking throughout the competition. Hass, who served as the team's witness, also played an integral role in developing and executing the team's trial strategy before and during the competition.
The Trial Team is coached by Adjunct Professor Jeffrey A. Breit and has qualified to compete in the Texas Young Lawyers Association National Trial Competition later this month.