Wellesley Mock Trial Team Qualifies for National Competition

For immediate release:
Feb.29, 2008

Contact: Molly Tarantino, mtaranti@wellesley.edu

mock trial team

WELLESLEY, Mass. — Wellesley College’s Mock Trial team placed fourth out of 24 teams at the 2008 Elm City Regional Tournament at Yale University Feb. 16-17, winning a bid to compete in the national tournament.

For the tournament, the seven team members ran the sentencing portion of a case against defendant Bobbi Campbell, who already pleaded guilty to assault in the second degree for stabbing a social worker with a hypodermic needle and infecting her with HIV. The purpose of the trial was to sentence Campbell to between five and 30 years in prison or place her on probation.

With six out of the seven members of the team new to Wellesley Mock Trial this year, the team prepared relentlessly for the tournament, which determined whether Wellesley would compete at the national level.

“This tournament in particular was both exciting and nerve-racking for our team,” said Carolyn Posner ’08, team president. “We’ve been preparing pretty exhaustively since our last tournament in early December, and we all came back about halfway through Wintersession (Wellesley’s January term) to hold four-hour meetings daily to make sure we were as prepared and ready as possible.”

The American Mock Trial Association, founded in 1985, serves as the governing body for intercollegiate mock trial competition. Through engaging in trial simulations in competition with teams from other institutions, students develop critical thinking and public speaking skills, as well as knowledge of legal practices and procedures.

In every tournament, each team acts as the defense twice and prosecution twice. Each round has two judges, each of whom score every witness and every attorney. The team wins a ballot by having the highest total number of points. Split ballots occur when each team wins one ballot.

“During the tournament itself, the team did a great job learning from trial to trial and, in the third round, split ballots with Fordham, a team that beat us in the last tournament we attended and is considered to be one of the top Mock Trial teams in the area,” Posner said.

Members of the winning team included Posner, Amy Goodman ’10, Emily Chan ’11, Ikhlas Saleem ’11, Farah Ahmed ’11, Tiffany Howard ’09 and Chrissy Filipp ’08.  Megan Henry ’11, Jennifer Blankenship ’10 and Victoria Starrett ’09—members of the other Wellesley Mock Trial team— will also accompany the team to the National Intercollegiate Mock Trial Tournament in Hamilton, Ohio, March 7-9.

“We’re all really excited to compete in silver nationals,” Posner said. “Especially exciting is that with only one person graduating this year, our team stands to become incredibly strong in the next few years.”

Since 1875, Wellesley College has been a leader in providing an excellent liberal arts education for women who will make a difference in the world. Its 500-acre campus near Boston is home to 2,300 undergraduate students from all 50 states and 68 countries.