The UNLV Mock Trial team wrapped up their competitive season this past weekend. After competing at Regionals, the team was unable to secure enough points to move on to the next round.
The team competed Sat. Feb. 4 through Sun. Feb. 5 at Claremont McKenna College in Claremont, California, against 24 other schools. UNLV ranked 9th in this competition, and only the top six schools got to move forward.
The ten members currently on the team are Sofia Takhtadjian, Carolyn Salvador Avila, Julian Lobato, Tim Clemons, Meagan Schaffer, Heather Waymire, Rachel Moody, Bobby Bellueci, David Narvaez-Manriquez, and Edgar Ovespian.
Each team member has their own role in the case that they get to develop and execute at competitions.
The American Mock Trial Association crafted the case that every school received in August. The case consists of several witnesses that the teams can pick from and build their case around.
In this case, Felder v. Koller Campbell Air LLC, Ari Felder is suing Koller Campbell Air LLC for the death of her husband, Morgan Felder. It was questionable whether or not the pilot and owner of Koller Campbell Air LLC, Reese Campbell, was properly licensed.
The argument that the defense chose to pursue is one that no other college is doing. The defense chose to argue risk assumption. By using this argument, the defense is trying to convince the judge that Morgan Felder knew the risks of flying with Reece Campbell on that night and decided to fly with him anyway.
Lobato acts as the closing defense attorney. He said that his process for this role is to prepare a total of three minutes of prescripted content and the other six minutes are written during the actual competition.
“In the middle of the trial, after the plaintiff is done doing their witnesses when my co-counsel works on their witnesses; I’m actually writing up the things that I want to say and trying to commit those things to memory until it’s my time to go up there with my witness,” Lobato said.
Lobato won two awards for his closing arguments at two competitions that UNLV’s Mock Trial team competed in.
Dr. Jason Mitchell, the team’s coach and law professor, recently had a child and took a step away from the team. For the majority of this competitive season, Dr. Mitchell was available in the background, but the team was mainly operating without a coach. Dr. Mitchell has recently stated that he will be stepping away permanently to focus on his family. Even though the UNLV Mock Trial team will not be moving forward, Takhtadjian is proud of her team for learning an important lesson. Takhtadjian said, “This team has really learned the essence of teamwork. When you come into this it’s all about ‘how do I do this?’ And then it becomes that transition into ‘What will help my team?’”