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Undergraduates Argue Defamation Case in National Courtroom Challenge

March 11, 2009
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GavelNine University of Miami undergraduate students – including three from the School of Business – participated in a national “mock trial” at the University of Notre Dame Feb. 28 and March 1, advancing to the final round.  The competition was sponsored by the American Mock Trial Association which serves as the governing body for intercollegiate mock trial competition. Twenty two teams from 14 different academic institutions competed in the regional event, and more than 600 teams competed in other events across the country.

The UM students included Page Little , Courtnee Reid, Haley Kornfield, Daniel Deoliveira, William Godar, Brandon Mitchell, Pallavi Pal,  Gabriel Gonzales and Marie Tranakas. The team was presented with a defamation case of a political celebrity involved in a fatal shooting. During four rounds, the team had to represent both the plaintiff and defendant, giving opening and closing statements and cross examining witnesses.

The UM team defeated teams from Loyola University and Ball State University, but eventually fell in the final round to Northwestern and therefore failed to advance to the next level. Still the UM team was honored with the Spirit of AMTA Award, awarded to the team that best exemplifies the ideals of honesty, civility, and fair play.  This was the University’s first year in the competition.

“I think given the caliber of students we have here, the team can be very successful,” said Don Donelson, lecturer of business law and team advisor. “Being honored as the team that best exemplified professionalism and civility was something I was very pleased with.”

By Stacey Weitz

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