The Liberty University School of Law Trial Team took second place in the American Bar Association’s 2012-2013 Regional Arbitration Competition in Jackson, Miss., Nov. 17-18, qualifying for the national competition in Chicago in January.
This was the first year Liberty has entered a team in the competition.
Coach Pamela Bell, associate professor of law, formed the school’s first comprehensive trial team program last year and entered the team in the Regional Arbitration Competition as a way to prepare it for the National Trial Competition and American Association for Justice Student Trial Advocacy Competition next semester. She was not expecting to qualify for nationals.
Bell, who is in her second year teaching at Liberty, said she wanted the team to have experience since several members were new. She said what she intended to be a “warm-up” for them took them by surprise.
“I've been coaching trial teams for 15 years, and I cannot say that I have ever been more proud of my team,” Bell said.
She said the team has excelled in its “skills, ethics, attitude and manner.”
“Our prayer each day was that we would reflect Christ's image and that we would bring honor and glory to His name,” Bell said. “I can tell you without a doubt that these students did just that. They were the epitome of professionalism and competed at a high level of skill.”
Bell has coached several teams to victory at state, regional, and national competitions. During her time at Stetson University College of Law, she coached teams at the NITA Tournament of Champions (considered the top law school trial competition) and won in 2004. The top 16 law school trial teams in the country are invited to that competition each fall.
Liberty’s Trial Team includes Stephanie Goodbar, Aaron Pike, Andrew Ferrell, John Kinney, Aaron McCurdy, Kacey Martin, Colin Campbell, and Ethan Hargraves. The team of McCurdy, Martin, Campbell, and Hargraves earned the second-place honor and will compete in Chicago.
At the regional competition, Liberty faced teams from Mississippi College of Law, Emory University, University of Memphis, Stetson University College of Law, and Chapman University School of Law. The team placing second defeated Memphis and Stetson in the preliminary rounds. The team then went on to defeat Mississippi in the semifinals to advance to the final round against Chapman.
According to the ABA, the Arbitration Competition “promotes greater knowledge in arbitration by simulating a realistic arbitration hearing. Participants prepare and present an arbitration case, including opening statements, witness examinations, exhibit introductions, evidentiary presentations, and summations.”