Last Team Standing Competition Offers Mock Trial Inspiration for 1L Students

On February 25-26, sixteen UMKC Law student teams competed in the 1L Last Team Standing Competition at law school. The Last Team Standing Mock Trial Competition is in its fifth year and is continuously providing insights and inspirations for 1L students at UMKC School of Law. This year’s last team standing was comprised of Ashley Crisafulli and Jordan Dollar, and the finalists were Melody Roberts and Sarah Smith.

Whether as witnesses, counsels or in other support roles, these students learned the hands-on skill of trial advocacy. The tournament adapted a two-bracket system that guaranteed each team two rounds, one each on the plaintiff and defense sides of the case.

The last standing team member Jordan Dollar said, “The competition provided useful insight into what trials feel like and how trials are conducted.”

For many of the participants, this was their first mock trial experience. As a result, each 1L team was assigned an upper-class coach who had trial team experience. The coaches offered helpful insights for the mock competition.

This year, the participants focused on a criminal case. The defendant was charged first-degree assault for alleged violent behavior against his girlfriend. Crisafulli and Dollar were mentored by Taylor Hass, one of the finalists in the 2015 competition. Crisafulli recalled starting with the basics. Once they had grasped the fundamentals, the team members edited each other’s sections and generated feedback with critical reflects.

“It was a great and fun experience,” said Dollar. “It challenged us mentally as we thought deeply about the facts, forming theories and the theme.”

Overall, this year’s Last Team Standing Competition offers 1L students an opportunity to immerse themselves in a intensive mock-trial environment that prepares them for competitions down the line. In addition, many students realized their deep interest in the field after this competition.

Crisafulli said, “As I worked, practiced, and competed, I quickly realized how interested I actually am in this area.”

Ultimately, each participant wins, because every student gains valuable experience that will be helpful in the future.

Published: Mar 6, 2017