ATHENS, WV (WOAY)- Concord University’s Mock Trial Team is receiving some expert guidance as members prepare for an upcoming competition in Washington, D.C.
The Honorable Omar J. Aboulhosn, United States Magistrate Judge and a 1989 graduate of Concord, presided over the team’s practice session on Oct. 24, offering words of wisdom from the bench to help fine-tune the team’s presentation.
According to Judge Aboulhosn, his critique of the students’ presentation focused on such areas as “how well they carry themselves in questioning and cross-examination of witnesses; how well they understand the facts of the case.”
The four Concord students making up the team will compete in the Mock Trial Competition during Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity’s 28th Annual Pre-Law Conference Oct. 31-Nov. 4.
Members of the team are: Amber Barie from Princeton, WV; Lanie Craig, Ashton, WV; Jack Garwood, Norwich, England; and Donovann Lyall, Beckley, WV. Kathy Elam from Fairdale, WV, and Megan Stemple from Bruceton Mills, WV are also part of the class and have helped prepare for the competition.
The current group of students is following a winning tradition into the competition. Concord’s team brought home the first place trophy in 2006 and through the years, the accolades have continued. Some of the highlights include placing third in 2010 and placing fourth and fifth with two teams in 2015.
Last year, Concord finished fourth in the contest.
Judge Aboulhosn applaudes CU’s track record in the annual competition. “Concord has done remarkably well,” he said. “I have been impressed.”
The students on the team are enrolled in Concord’s Advanced Mock Trial class. Along with being a practice session for the competition, their Oct. 24 presentation also served as the final exam for the course.
The class is taught by Adjunct Instructor Adam Wolfe. Mr. Wolfe is a Mercer County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney and 2003 graduate of Concord. He serves as the Mock Trial Team’s coach.
Also present during the practice was Mercer County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Anthony Heltzel. Mr. Heltzel, who served as a witness during the mock trial, graduated from Concord in 2012. He said that Judge Aboulhosn helped students prepare for Phi Alpha Delta’s mock trial competition when he was part of the team in 2011.
Mr. Wolfe said that the fictitious criminal case for the competition has been provided by Phi Alpha Delta. The case deals with a vehicular homicide involving DUI.
For students heading to law school competing with the Mock Trial Team is a big plus. “It gives them a leg up when applying to law school,” Mr. Wolfe stated.
“Concord is very competitive” when it comes to successful admission to law school, he explained.
The experience students gain from being part of Concord’s Mock Trial Team and class also “helps prepare them for law school” when they encounter key components such as moot court and writing for the law journal, Mr. Wolfe said.
Amber Barie explains how taking the class and being a part of the Mock Trial Team is benefiting her.
“I have gained deeper critical thinking skills, better communication skills, and I have gained a deeper knowledge of how the court system works from within,” she said.
“I am very excited for the competition!” Amber said about representing Concord. “I am looking forward to exploring the D.C. area with my teammates and some of our other members of Phi Alpha Delta, and getting to meet other teams from our nation.”