ATLANTA — A Georgia State University College of Law Student Trial Lawyers Association team won the 13th annual National Trial Advocacy Competition on Oct. 25-28 at Michigan State University College of Law in East Lansing.
The team of Matthew Hurst (J.D. '13), Vandana Murty (J.D. '13), Carolyn Schillo (J.D. '14) and Benjamin Huntington (J.D. '14) beat Thomas M. Cooley Law School of Lansing, Mich., in the final round. Coaches were Paige Boorman (J.D. '05) and Tom Jones, adjunct professor and former prosecutor.
"To me a national championship is a demonstration of the effectiveness of GSU Law's approach to litigation and trial advocacy," says Hurst, a part-time student and one of the team's attorneys. "The depth of knowledge embodied in our evidence faculty, our use of local practitioners as litigation professors, the invaluable simulation experience gained in the Student Trial Lawyers Association . . . is a clear indicator that GSU's approach to trial advocacy just works."
Murty, another team attorney, said judges commented that the Georgia State team looked like "real attorneys. They complimented us on our courtroom presence, saying we objected when we should have and thought on our feet."
The team competed against 26 teams, including Michigan State, Southern Methodist, Catholic, Texas Southern, Akron, John Marshall-Chicago, Faulkner, Samford and Emory universities.
The case, which the team received in September, was a murder trial. Throughout the competition's six rounds, each team had to be prepared to argue both sides of the case.
"There was a great sense of camaraderie among the team and coaches which encouraged each individual to work hard for each other's benefit," Huntington says. "Also, Paige Boorman and Tom Jones were incredibly capable and willing to share their opinions about how to approach different issues. We really could not have done it without them."