Life Beyond the Classroom – Tiffany Eisenbise and Brian Buckmire

December 17, 2013

Brian BuckmireEisenbiseTAt W&L Law, students benefit from the many experiences and learning opportunities both within and beyond the classroom.  We asked several of our current law students to discuss the activities and organizations they have chosen to devote their time and energies to.   Today, 3Ls Tiffany Eisenbise and Brian Buckmire explain the role of Moot Court’s Davis Competition in student life at W&L Law.  Additional information about the Davis Competition can be found by clicking here.

Each fall there is a buzz in the air as students arrive in Lexington, classes begin for the semester and Moot Court competitions get underway.  Why the buzz about Moot Court?  Well, we are here to tell you all about it.

As the Davis Administrators we serve on the Moot Court Executive Board (MCEB).  The MCEB is a team of ten 3Ls responsible for administering all of W&L’s internal competitions.  As the administrators we write the problems, organize the competitions, coach competitors, and work with judges and practitioners to visit W&L to judge our best and brightest.

Each year the MCEB hosts five internal competitions.  Negotiations, Appellate Advocacy, Client Counseling and Mock Trial competitions take place in the fall.  In the spring we host the Mediation competition.  Every W&L law student is able to participate in some way.  Second and third year students are able to participate in the competitions, while first year students are able to serve as bailiffs or witnesses in the various competitions.  Regardless of a student’s level of participation, there is a lot to learn and a lot of fun to be had from Moot Court competitions.

As we mentioned, we are the administrators of the John W. Davis Appellate Advocacy competition – a competition that simulates an argument before the Supreme Court.  To compete participants must write a brief and argue their case before “the Court.”  The competition begins the first week of school with students attending a primer conducted by a W&L professor.  At this meeting tips and tricks for brief writing and oral advocacy are shared with the competitors.  After the primer students are off to the races as the competition officially starts.

The competition consists of a problem with two issues that participants must research, write a brief on and then argue their case.  The issues are typically constitutional in nature and are issues that are currently before the Supreme Court.  Free speech, affirmative action, and government target killings are some of the past issues used for competitions.

Competitors are given two weeks to write a brief, either on their own or with a partner. The brief is an important part of the competition as it is worth thirty percent of their score moving into the quarter final round.  But the brief is more than just thirty percent of your overall score.  When you submit a brief you are in the running for Best Brief Writer, a prestigious and equally important award to the Best Oralist.

After briefs are submitted participants present their argument before “the Court.”  In the first round “the Court” consists of three MCEB members.  Competitors argue both On-Brief (the argument they wrote their brief on) and Off-Brief (the opposing argument). As the rounds progress, competitors are presented with more challenging judges and questions that test their knowledge of the record and their oral advocacy skills.  But don’t let that scare you from competing.  As Administrators our first responsibility is to develop the competitors written and oral skills. We provide constructive feedback after every round and meet with competitors between rounds to coach them and help hone their skills. The competition culminates several weeks later with four finalists arguing their position against a panel of Federal Judges.

From our internal competition we select a group of students to participate in the regional competition that takes place in the spring.  We have two teams, each made up of two oralists and one brief writer.  As with the school competition, each team researches a set of issues, submits a brief and then argues before “the Court.”  Last year our team made it to the semi-final round of the ABA National Appellate Advocacy Competition.  Members of the 2012 ABA Appellate Advocacy team were the first team to make it to the nationals in many years.  While that fact may be true, it is an honor that we seek to become a tradition at Washington and Lee School of Law.

All of W&L’s Moot Court competitions offer a great deal to the students involved.  The competitions provide an opportunity to not only learn more about the actual practice of law but to learn about yourself in a safe environment. Students are able to practice their skills and try new things without worrying about messing up in front of a client.  They can learn what kind of advocate they are and in what setting they may thrive after graduation.  As with our competition, the other competitions offer the opportunity to practice oral advocacy and writing skills.  In addition to actually participating, students are provided constructive feedback that fosters a sense of learning and growing as a lawyer.  Though there are great advantages to participating in a competition, there is also value in observing the competitions.  First year students, especially, are encouraged to come to the competitions or serve as a witness or bailiff so they can learn more about the competition in preparation for their participation in the future.

One of the great things about participating in the competition is allowing yourself to stretch and grow in ways you didn’t think possible.  Additionally, watching your classmates is a great way to learn.  Aside from the learning opportunities, participation in Moot Court competitions are a lot of fun.


Life Beyond the Classroom – Kristin Slawter

December 12, 2013
Kristin Slawter 14L

Kristin Slawter 14L

At W&L Law, students benefit from the many experiences and learning opportunities both within and beyond the classroom.  We asked several of our current law students to discuss the activities and organizations they have chosen to devote their time and energies to.   Kristin Slawter is a 3L from Wayne, Pennsylvania, spending her fall semester interning for Judge Royce Lamberth of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia as a part of the inaugural W&L Law D.C. Semester. After graduation, she will clerk for a federal district court judge, and then join an international law firm in Washington, D.C.  Today, she discusses her involvement with the Dean’s Advisory Group.

Aside from its impressive reputation and innovative curriculum, the thing that drew me to W&L Law was the level of interaction between the students, faculty, and administration. Each of the individuals in those categories came to Lexington because they want to be at W&L Law, to make it a fantastic school—and that is most evident in the Dean’s Advisory Group.

When Dean Demleitner arrived in Lexington last fall, one of her main priorities was to get a sense for student opinion on big issues. She, with the help of Dean Twitty, created the Dean’s Advisory Group (DAG) to serve as such a conduit for the student voice to reach the administration. The DAG is composed of approximately five students from each year, as well as Dean Twitty and Dean Demleitner. The deans interviewed scores of candidates and worked tremendously hard to create a group of students that would represent the myriad of different backgrounds in the W&L Law community.

The group typically meets monthly to discuss issues such as curriculum reform, career services, and building improvements. You can imagine my amazement the day we met with the school architect, who informed us that our 1970s-esque Sydney Lewis Hall was designed in the style of a Japanese temple! (For the record, I still don’t see it.) But what I did see through that meeting was the school’s commitment to building and creating the space that the students want. The architect and Dean Demleitner devoted immense detail and time to discovering how we study, where we study, who we study with, and when we study, in order to best design future space in the law school. While it might be tempting while looking at law schools to be drawn to the most stunning library, once you’re on campus, the beauty pales in comparison to the functionality of the space—having student voice in this process is vital to ensuring the space works for students.

The DAG also worked on different seating options at carrels, as the current wooden chairs do not fit under the carrel desks. Describing and discussing how people study at their carrels—or don’t—helped formulate the plans for the renovations to the Sydney Lewis Hall based on student need. Similar suggestions for the career center and course offerings have seen implication over the last year, and as students react to the new changes, the DAG provides the feedback to Dean Demleitner to gauge success and effectiveness.

This group has truly enhanced my respect for the administrators and expanded my understanding of my colleagues. As the DAG only got underway last March, much of our meetings were merely feedback by May. But over the summer, the administration announced changes to W&L that directly mirrored the student opinions voiced in our group. Having deans that are not only interested in listening to students but committed to implementing their desired change is so valuable. Further, I have learned a great deal about my colleagues through each meeting—listening to what they value, what their experience has been like, and what change they would like to see. It helps us to be more understanding of differences in opinion and be more willing to come to compromise or consensus. In other words, the importance of the group goes beyond getting fancy new swivel chairs.

In my opinion, the importance of such groups cannot be overstated. As a former student body vice president during my senior year at the College of William & Mary, I’ve seen firsthand the power to effect student-led change that comes from having students in direct contact with decision makers in the administration. Having a group like the DAG further fosters a sense of community at W&L Law, as students understand that they can have open dialogue with the administrators and the administrators can more accurately implement change that will benefit everyone.


Life Beyond the Classroom – Howard Wellons

December 9, 2013

WellonsHAt W&L Law, students benefit from the many experiences and learning opportunities both within and beyond the classroom.  We asked several of our current law students to discuss the activities and organizations they have chosen to devote their time and energies to.   Today, 3L Howard Wellons describes his involvement in Law News.

There can be no doubt that W&L Law is unique among the nation’s top-tier law schools. Its rural location, close-knit student body, loyal alumni, and powerful legacy combine to imbue the school with opportunities that are simply unavailable at other law schools. As is often true in things that are worthwhile, these opportunities may not be apparent at first. I have always believed that the first step any student, whether law student or undergrad, should take in a new institution is to learn about the institution they have just joined.

That’s where The Law News comes in. As the W&L School of Law’s Newspaper, The Law News is constantly connected to everything worth knowing in the school. We interview Alumni and professors; we cover events both on campus and in the broader region; and we spotlight exceptional students in every issue. Essentially, we serve as the ideal vehicle to get new students plugged into all that is going on and everyone that is worth knowing throughout the campus and community.

The Law News, however, is far more than simply a means to update the community on the “who” and the “what.” Our real purpose lies in the “why” and the “how.” Over all of its forty-one years of existence, The Law News has remained independent and entirely student managed. This independence gives us the freedom to offer objective analysis on the school, its events, and its community. This freedom has contributed to our extraordinary success in winning the 2013 ABA Law School Newspaper Award, making us the nation’s most highly awarded law school newspaper.

This all may sound great in theory, but how would you as an incoming student actually benefit from what The Law News has to offer?  In the past, our writers have covered our law school’s appellate advocacy competitions, critiqued speakers, interviewed our Dean, and written articles on our law school’s history. Nearly any time something notable happens that involves our school, The Law News is there to capture and analyze it.

There is also another benefit to serving as a staff writer, a benefit which I didn’t fully appreciate until I began to serve in the Editor in Chief role: ensuring that you can still communicate in a non-legal way. Throughout law school, you will be asked to learn a new lexicon, and to communicate in a manner that values technical precision in order to make an effective case in court. While learning this new form of communication is necessary when becoming an attorney, law students too often forget the value of other forms of writing. The Law News is the only organization at W&L Law which gives you a chance to practice the art of conveying information for its own sake, and to communicate using a journalistic style, rather than a legal style of writing.

The Law News offers an interesting mix of opportunities and possibilities to incoming students. While it has a long legacy, it is always being re-imagined to fit the needs of the students and Alumni it continues to serve.  Just this year, the newspaper  began the process of enhancing its web presence on Facebook, Twitter, and throughout the web. We are excited by the new possibilities these venues will open, and we look forward to seeing what you, as the next generation of Law News leaders, will come up with next! I hope you choose to attended W&L Law, and I hope that when you do, you will choose to become involved with the publication that can keep you better connected to the school than any other.


Life Beyond the Classroom – Stephanie Bollheimer

December 6, 2013

BollheimerSAt W&L Law, students benefit from the many experiences and learning opportunities both within and beyond the classroom.  We asked several of our current law students to discuss the activities and organizations they have chosen to devote their time and energies to.   Today, 3L Stephanie Bollheimer explains the role of Honor Advocates in the Washington and Lee community.

The Honor Advocate Program is an integral part of Washington and Lee’s Honor System. Both law and undergraduate students run the program and serve as Honor Advocates. These students serve as resources and advisors to W&L students involved in proceedings before the University’s conduct bodies.  This means that when a student must appear before the Executive Committee (EC), the Student Judicial Council (SJC), or the Student Faculty Hearing Board (SFHB), an Advocate will assist them through the process.

The program plays a vital role for accused students at W&L.  Most students are not familiar with how an EC or SFHB hearing is conducted; few would know how to present their best case to the SJC.  To address this, Advocates bring detailed procedural knowledge to each student’s case.   Typically, an Advocate meets with the accused student, investigates the facts, interviews potential witnesses, gathers evidence, helps with opening and closing statements, and attends the various University body hearings to serve as a resource for the accused student. . It cannot be overstated how important it is for accused students to have someone to help them through what can seem like a confusing process.  For the accused student, disciplinary proceedings are almost always stressful. The Advocates’ overall aim is to support students throughout the process. At a time when students often feel at their worst, an Honor Advocate is there to help. In the W&L community, where we pride ourselves on helping each other out, the Honor Advocate program exemplifies the spirit of service we owe our fellow Generals.

For law students, the Honor Advocate Program provides an invaluable experience.  While law school classes teach substantive law, the Honor Advocate Program provides useful, real-life experiences where students can practice their factual investigation, counseling and advocacy skills. The program is especially valuable for first-year students because it introduces them to hands-on, practical lawyering situations early in their law school careers.  Honor Advocates are not engaged in law practice scenarios, but assist students in cases with real consequences that may even include dismissal from the University.

Though I am a double General (‘09,  ‘14L) and knew about the Honor Advocate Program from my time here as an undergraduate, I did not fully understand or appreciate the Honor System and its effect on me until I graduated and moved away from Lexington. The sense of community, its values and morals, and the trust found on W&L’s campus and among its students is unlike anything I have ever experienced.  For me, the Honor System was one the main reasons I attended W&L Law, along with the third-year program and the incredible opportunities being a General offers. When I made that choice and got back on campus, I realized I wanted to give back to the community and be a part of the system.  Being involved in the Honor Advocate Program was a great way to contribute and develop my advocacy and professional skills.

Personally, I have learned a tremendous amount through my participation in the Honor Advocate program.  Throughout my three-year involvement, I have had the opportunity to work in all areas where advocates play a role.  I have advocated on behalf of students before the EC, the SJC, and the SFHB many times. I have also contributed to many investigation teams.  These experiences have not always gone flawlessly and have been difficult at times, but they have always been rewarding.  My participation in the program taught me how to set personal feelings aside so I could advocate for each accused student effectively.  I have also learned how to sift through a great deal of information and synthesize it into a viable case theory.  At the same time, though I have learned that every situation must be approached in a unique manner, and that the only way to be truly prepared is to be prepared for anything:  many times I  developed a clear plan for how I thought  meetings or hearings would go, and—of course—they often did not unfold as I expected.  This forced me to be adaptable, and think on my feet. Interpersonal skills are also vital when dealing with clients, witnesses and judicial bodies in law practice, and the same is true for the work of an Honor Advocate.  The program certainly helped me develop these skills   I also learned how to be comfortable directing events in a hearing, and managing the changing factual landscape.   The third year program helped refine all these skills, which have been extremely helpful in my internships, moot court competitions, and working with clinic clients during my third year.

The Honor Advocate Program is a wonderful organization that serves an essential role on campus.  I encourage law students to look into what the program does and recognize how it can help them develop as an advocate.  I know that the lessons I learned as an Honor Advocate will serve me well throughout my future law career.

 

 


Life Beyond the Classroom – Heryka Knoespel

December 2, 2013

KnoespelHAt W&L Law, students benefit from the many experiences and learning opportunities both within and beyond the classroom.  We asked several of our current law students to discuss the activities and organizations they have chosen to devote their time and energies to.   Today, 3L Heryka Knoespel explains her involvement in the Latin American Law Students Association (LALSA).

Latin American Law Students Association (LALSA) is an organization open to all law students interested in learning about issues affecting the Latin American community.

LALSA has launched a new initiative this year—Spanish for Lawyers. Program participants meet every Thursday for an hour of Spanish language immersion. The Program seeks to train law students to represent Spanish-speaking clients. Professor David Baluarte teaches the Program. We are extremely lucky to have Professor Baluarte leading the sessions. Professor Baluarte previously brought cases against foreign governments for human rights violations in Spanish. His mastery of the Spanish language and previous experience litigating cases in Spanish make him a tremendous asset to the Program. Every week the group learns new legal terms, phrases and concepts. Then, we do various simulations to practice our newly learned legal terms. Even though we have various levels of Spanish ability within the group, we all feel very comfortable speaking in Spanish with one another. It is a very supportive, nourishing environment. We encourage one another and help each other when someone forgets a word in Spanish. Program participants often share with me how much they enjoy this time to practice their Spanish. I have personally learned a lot from the Program. For example, I can now explain to clients in Spanish how their case will move through the court system and which court has jurisdiction to hear their case. We have spent the first several weeks of the Program mastering basic legal terminology. Now we will begin focusing our weekly sessions on specialized areas of law. Because of the legal interests of those in our group, our upcoming sessions will focus on criminal law, family law, corporate law, and intellectual property law. I am looking forward to learning terminology that will enable me to have conversations with others about these areas in Spanish.

Additionally, this year LALSA has partnered with the Washington and Lee Immigrant Rights Clinic to plan events to raise awareness of immigration issues facing our nation and state. Responding to the recent talk of immigration reform, we have planned two major events centered on immigration issues for the Fall semester.

First, we will be screening the documentary “9500 Liberty.” “9500 Liberty” documents the reaction in Prince William County, Virginia, after the County implemented an Arizona-style immigration ordinance several years ago. A local ordinance required police to question people who appeared to be undocumented immigrants. The film, which debuted on YouTube in 2010, tells the story of the racial tension. Although the ordinance was later repealed, we chose this documentary because it shows how ordinances can create significant obstacles for undocumented individuals that “documented” persons take for granted. We felt that watching this documentary, as a student body, will help us understand the struggles undocumented persons face.

Secondly, we will have an event featuring Edgar Aranda-Yanoc. Mr Aranda-Yanoc currently works with the Legal Aid Justice Center’s Immigrant Advocacy Program as Organizing Coordinator. He is also the Chair of the Board of Directors for Virginia Coalition of Latino Organizations (VACOLAO) and a member of the Executive Committee of the National Day laborer Organizing Network (NDLON). Under his leadership, the Virginia Coalition of Latino Organizations (VACOLAO), in collaboration with several organizations, individuals, and communities of faith have defeated legislative initiatives that could harm immigrant communities in the commonwealth. He will be speaking about several current immigration issues at the federal and state level. Topics will include federal immigration reform, the impact of the federal program “Secure Communities” on local communities, state barriers to driver’s licenses for undocumented persons, and the struggle for in-state tuition rates for undocumented persons.  We hope that both events will help the W&L community better understand immigration issues in the United States.

Because law school can be stressful, student organizations are a great way to de-stress while building relationships with your peers. This year LALSA has been a great vehicle for me to get to know others that share my interests.


Life Beyond the Classroom – Katriel Statman

November 25, 2013

StatmanKAt W&L Law, students benefit from the many experiences and learning opportunities both within and beyond the classroom.  We asked several of our current law students to discuss the activities and organizations they have chosen to devote their time and energies to.   Today, 3L Kat Statman discusses the Journal of Energy, Climate, and the Environment (JECE), one of the four journal opportunities at W&L Law.

The Journal of Energy, Climate, and the Environment (JECE) is a student run academic legal journal that publishes articles on energy, climate, and environmental law and policy. The articles published encompass these issues both nationally and internationally. The Journal also promotes at least one event per year on emerging issues in energy, climate, and environmental law. This year the Journal had a Fall Panel in November 1st, 2013 discussing the moratorium on uranium mining in Virginia. This February the Journal will be hosting a full day symposium on International Environmental Justice, focusing specifically on access to water and access to energy in developing nations around the world.

JECE serves a variety of functions within W&L. What we strive to do is make W&L a leader in legal scholarship in energy, climate, and environmental law. Through our symposia and our publication we bring leaders in legal and non-legal thought to campus to contribute to some of the most important discussions that are affecting our nation and our world. For example, whether a family in Pakistan has electricity so that their children can finish high school and help bring the family out of poverty is currently an important issue effecting the discussions of access to energy and whether governments should support alternative energy structures or traditional energy structures.

Additionally, the Journal trains the second year staff-writers and third year editors in important skills that will be necessary when they inevitably enter the job market. Being a member of a journal is not a cakewalk and requires a significant amount of work. This work, however, teaches a number of important skills that have helped me and the other editors on JECE tremendously. Staff-writers learn time management skills, attention to detail, and legal citation systems through the process that we call cite-checking. Additionally, they begin to fine tune and develop their legal research and writing skills that they started to develop as first year law students. Every staff-writer is required to write a fairly substantial paper on an important and timely issue in energy, climate, or environmental law. This requires research into the current issues and varying viewpoints, the ability to synthesize a large amount of information, and finally the ability to take this information and convert it into an article that will be considered for publication at the end of the year.

Each year on JECE has given me different things to enjoy. As a staff-writer I really enjoyed two things. First I enjoyed the camaraderie that I developed with my other staff writers during the cite check process. I remember being in the law school late one night scrambling to finish a cite check. Two other staff writers were here too and we all needed to use the same source but all of us had carrels in different parts of the law school. Every time we would need the source we would have to find out who had it and where they were sitting. In that process we would joke around and have fun all becoming better friends for it. The second thing was the opportunity to write a note, where I developed a topic, argument, and theme and had the opportunity to have it considered for publication. This was the first time in law school I had this opportunity  and the first time I had engaged in a project like this since I left graduate school.

As a third year editor, the experience is different, but in many ways there are similarities. While our cite-checking responsibilities are different, we are still involved and still have those late crazy nights. But the most important was having the chance to meet 15 staff writers from the current second year class and work with them. I did not know any of them when they were selected for JECE, but now that I know them all I am glad that I had that opportunity.

I do not want to lie; being on a journal in any capacity is a lot of work. As a second year you are juggling a job search, four courses, moot court competitions, and a personal life with journal work, which will take up a lot of time and energy. And, as a third year editor you are juggling your responsibilities to the Journal with your clinic or externship, potentially a job search and then worries about the bar exam. Regardless, it is an experience I would not give up for a minute.

But all this hard work has paid off. Every attorney, law professor, policy advocate, or even non-lawyer understands that the issues of energy, climate, and the environment are important today and will be important for a long time. Being able to talk intelligently about these issues has been a benefit in starting my career as a lawyer and will be beneficial for the rest of my career as a lawyer.


Life Beyond the Classroom – Tunde Cadmus

November 21, 2013

CadmusTAt W&L Law, students benefit from the many experiences and learning opportunities both within and beyond the classroom.  We asked several of our current law students to discuss the activities and organizations they have chosen to devote their time and energies to.   Today, 2L Tunde Cadmus explains his involvement with the Black Law Students Association (BLSA) and the BLSA mock trial team.

The Black Law Students Association, or “BLSA”, is a national organization that seeks to promote the educational, professional, political and social needs of black law students. Algernon Johnson Cooper, former mayor of Prichard, Alabama, founded the organization in 1968 at the New York University Law School. Today, BLSA is a multi-national, student-run organization, with over 200 law school chapters in forty-eight states, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and six different countries.

In 2002, BLSA, in accordance with its mission to promote the educational and professional development of black law students, developed the Thurgood Marshall Mock Trial Competition—a national mock trial competition created to help develop the courtroom skills of future lawyers.

Of course, W&L Law has its own esteemed Mock Trial Competition. There are, however, a few key differences between the law school’s competition and the BLSA competition. First, the BLSA competition is completely independent from the school’s competition, with different rules regarding eligibility and overall competition structure. For example, 1Ls are not allowed to compete in the school’s mock trial competition (or any of the other competitions, including Moot Court, Negotiations, or Client Counseling). Conversely, 1Ls are free to participate in BLSA Mock Trial (there is also a BLSA Moot Court competition, the Frederick Douglas Moot Court Competition, in which 1Ls are also free to participate), so long as they join the W&L BLSA chapter. Another striking difference is that competitors in W&L’s competition are not allowed to seek help from faculty in preparing their case. In the BLSA competition, however, each team may have a faculty member who can coach and guide them in all aspects leading up to the actual competition.  Third, W&L’s competition is structured so that each “team” consists of two students who will not necessarily advance together; each person is scored individually and only one person will be named as the school’s mock trial winner. In the BLSA competition, each team is comprised of four students, and the team is scored as a whole. Therefore, if a team scores enough points, the team as a whole advances.

Another difference worth noting is the opportunity for the teams in the BLSA competition to travel and compete against students from other schools in the first round of competitions. BLSA is organized into six different regions (W&L’s chapter is in the Mid-Atlantic Region), and the first phase of the competition involves competing in rounds against other teams in the region. The Regional Competitions can be held in a hotel anywhere in the respective region. Similarly, teams that do well at the Regional level will advance and compete against other students at the National Competition, which can be held anywhere in the nation! There is no similar guarantee that a competitor in the school-sponsored competition will be able to travel and compete against students from other schools.

Participating in BLSA Mock Trial has been the most rewarding, educational, and inspiring—yet challenging and stressful—experience I have had in law school so far. As a 1L, I remember being frustrated at the realization that law school (for 1Ls, anyway) only consisted of reading cases and living with the constant anxiety of being called upon in class and questioned on those cases. I knew that there had to be more to law school, and because of BLSA Mock Trial, I realized that there was. Participating in the BLSA Mock Trial competition, especially as a 1L, helped me better understand the legal principles I was learning by forcing me to apply them in a “real” legal setting. I learned that the seemingly distant and esoteric concepts in my casebooks actually apply to everyday situations and issues. Being in a courtroom and arguing motions before a judge, cross-examining witnesses, engaging in objection colloquies with an opposing party, and working with my co-counsel and witnesses both before and during the trial reinforced my desire to become a lawyer and reminded by why I came to law school.

This will be the third year that the BLSA chapter at W&L will be participating in the Mock Trial competition. With the help of our amazing coach, Prof. Belmont, W&L has advanced to the National Competition for the last two years, and we hope to continue that trend this year. In my opinion, the fact that the BLSA competition allows faculty to coach the teams is what makes it perhaps even more attractive than the law school’s competition. The BLSA Mock Trial Problem is extremely complex and can contain any number of evidentiary documents such as complaints, indictments, police reports, medical reports, depositions, testimonies, statutes, and jury instructions, just to name a few. Sifting through all this material without any guidance as to what is relevant or admissible can be daunting. As our coach, Prof. Belmont teaches us how to effectively tackle the problem and litigate the case as if we were already real attorneys—skills that I have honed outside of the classroom.