STLA Team Advances to Octofinal Round in Buffalo Niagara Mock Trial Competition
Four Georgia State Law students, Sean Robinson (J.D. ’18), Cameron Mobley (J.D. ’18), Andrew Navratil (J.D. ’18), and Annie Yasin (J.D. ’18) advanced to the octofinal round in the Buffalo Niagara Mock Trial Competition on Nov. 12-13 in Buffalo, New York.
The 130-page competition problem focused on a criminal case dealing with a professional wrestling company similar to WWE, Yasin said. The case revolved around two charges, one for manslaughter and one for reckless endangerment.
“The entire problem was very dense. It involved a lot of different characters and grand jury testimony and an autopsy report,” Yasin said.
To prepare for the competition, the team met Saturdays and Sundays beginning in September for five to seven hours a day. Opening and closing arguments for each side of the case had to be memorized to ensure a smooth presentation for the competition. Primary coaches Leyna Palmer (J.D. ’16) and Kristin Williams (J.D. ’12) were present to guide and help with objections, responses, motions, preliminary matters and how to behave in court. Cheryl Champion (J.D. ’93) assisted in coaching before the competition and all were present at the competition.
“These three wonderful women gave up their weekends and more to coach us this semester,” Navratil said. “Leyna did this while in the midst of taking the bar, planning her wedding, and starting a new job; Kristen drove from her home in Chattanooga; and Cheryl helped coach other STLA teams at the same time.”
These coaches were “phenomenal,” Yasin said. “We went [to the competition] feeling prepared and confident in our skills.”
Palmer said she was impressed by each of the student’s dedication and level of skill.
“Watching [the team] compete was such a proud moment for me, because I knew all of their hard work was paying off and when they advanced it was the culmination of all of that work,” Palmer said. “Personally, I’m glad they all have at least another year in school which saves me from having to face any of them in a courtroom for a while.”
The team was narrowly defeated by Florida State, who won the competition.
“We represented our law school extremely well,” Yasin said. “We had judges and evaluators come up to us and ask what school we went to because they were astounded by us being only 2Ls. This experience was unforgettable, and we are all thankful to the College of Law, STLA, our coaches and our teammates.”