Lee University’s mock trial team off to a promising start at OWL Classic
The Lee University Mock Trial team took home second place at the 2017 OWL Classic Mock Trial Competition at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School this past October.
The team competed against schools from Tennessee, Georgia, Florida and South Carolina. Most of the attending schools have paid faculty coaches, but Lee is unique in that it's student-coached and student-administered.
According to team president Ben Absher, this second place victory at the OWL Classic is the best Lee’s team has ever done at a competition. Absher said the winning team isn't chosen purely on number of rounds won. If it was, Lee's team would have, in fact, tied for first. But the process is a complicated one, and judges use of a set of very specific rubrics to determine the winner.
“Based on those two rubrics, we went 4-0, and another team went 4-0. However, they had slightly more difficult competition, and based on the rubric that they used to determine that, we ended up getting second place,” Absher said. “So we’re pretty happy.”
Next up, the team is headed to Murfreesboro to test their skills once more. Absher said he's looking forward to the team's upcoming journey to MTSU as well as competing in next semester's regional competition—an event that will determine whether Lee will take part in nationals.
“MTSU, to some degree, is just practice leading up to regionals,” Absher said. “But for the fall semester—that’s our big tournament, and it’s your chance to bring home awards. That's a bigger deal than if you bring home awards from an OWL Classic. So hopefully, we can.”
According to mock trial vice president Maegan Phillips, the team has remained resolute in their hope for nationals, and they've adopted the philosophy that working hard can be a good time.
“Our team this year has a great work ethic, but we also have a lot of fun together,” Phillips said. “We have been working hard to prepare for competition season, and it seemed to pay off at OWL Classic with our second-place win. We still have a lot of room for improvement, but I’m looking forward to the rest of the season.”
Moving into the next phase of their competition season, the team is receiving ample support and well-wishes from their faculty sponsor, Lee history professor and former lawyer Dr. Andrew Bledsoe. Bledsoe said he is very confident in the abilities of the student-led team and is excited to watch the rest of their season.
“I’m really proud of how the team performed. And they have a lot of potential, a lot of talent, and they work really hard. I’m looking forward to how they’re going to do in the future,” Bledsoe said. “I think they have all the ability in the world, and I have all of the confidence that they are gonna do really well.”
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