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Trial by Combat 2019

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  • Trial by Combat 2019

    I am excited to announce that the second Trial by Combat – the college mock trial one-on-one national championship -- will be June 21-23, 2019 in Philadelphia. Last year, Drexel’s Kline School of Law hosted the tournament. With my recent move to the UCLA School of Law, the two law schools have agreed to co-host the event moving forward. The 2020 tournament will be in Los Angeles.

    If you're interested in learning more about the tournament, there are three sources of information. First, I will be answering questions on this page. Feel free to post questions below or email me at bernstein@law.ucla.edu, and I will post them here. I won't comment on why we chose one person over another, but I will generally answer anything else.

    Second, you can visit the trial advocacy websites for UCLA Law and Drexel Law. These include general information about the tournament and a link to apply (all students eligible to compete in 2019 AMTA regionals are eligible for Trial by Combat 2019). These websites will also list the names of confirmed students. We will announce the first set of confirmed students later this week.

    Finally, we will make tournament materials available in the Combat 2019 Google folder. Eventually this will include the tournament rules, schedule, and case. For now, we have published the survey responses from the inaugural class of competitors and coaches. The compilation includes what people enjoyed, suggestions for what we can do better, and our responses to the feedback. I think you'll find them informative.
    Last edited by Justin B.; December 10th, 2018, 07:36 PM.

  • #2
    When is the application deadline?

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    • #3
      The first eight confirmed competitors are now listed on the schools' websites:

      https://law.ucla.edu/centers/clinica...ial-by-combat/

      https://drexel.edu/law/academics/kli...l-competition/

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      • #4
        Thanks to everyone who emailed me questions about the tournament. I will answer a few questions below, and I'’ll answer the remainder next semester. [Note: in some cases, I have taken the liberty of paraphrasing/shortening the questions I received.]

        When is the application deadline?
        There is no deadline. But the competition is limited to 16 students, and once we'’re full, we'’re full.

        When are you sending the next batch of invitations / announcing the next batch of confirmed competitors?
        We have eight confirmed competitors, and we have invited a ninth. I do not anticipate extending additional invitations until after ORCS. This gives everyone a chance to develop their team/individual credentials. My guess is that we will invite a few students after ORCS and the finalize the field shortly after Nationals.

        When should I apply?
        If you apply before ORCS, we will either place you on our list of Finalists (which means we will ask you for an updated resume after ORCS) or let you know that you have not been selected. You can also apply after ORCS or even after Nationals, though, again, the field might be full if you wait too long. Bottom line: my advice is to apply whenever you like, but ideally by March 19, the Tuesday after the last ORCS.

        One of the questions on the application is if we want to know more about the trial programs at UCLA and Drexel. Is that a factor in who gets accepted to TBC?
        Short answer: Nope.

        Slightly longer answer: We want the best possible Trial by Combat field, period, and I think the students selected so far show that: last season, none of the 16 students were headed to Drexel or UCLA for law school, and none of the nine students invited so far have even applied to Drexel or UCLA (to my knowledge). So check the box if— -- and only if— -- you want to learn more about our trial programs.

        You do realize there are a lot more than 16 amazing competitors, right?
        We do. Yes, the field is extremely selective (16 students represents about 0.3% of all competitors nationwide). But we think that’'s a good thing. More importantly, a small field allows us to offer (and pay for) the amenities that make the tournament special: free food for the competitors throughout the weekend, apparel for the competitors, lots and lots of judges, etc. We don'’t charge a registration fee, and we want to keep it that way.

        Why do you only take one competitor per school?
        Two reasons. The first is logistical. If students from the same school can be in the same trial, it creates fairness problems -- —advantages if they'’re directing one another, potential gamesmanship if they'’re facing each other. If, however, we prohibit same-school-matchups in such a small field, it creates pairing problems. Either way, it’'s a problem. Second, it’'s more fun if 16 different schools are represented.

        Why did you reject [insert name of super-duper competitor]?
        I wouldn'’t assume that they applied -- —or that they were denied. We have several competitors who are Finalists for the remaining spots, including at least one who competed in Combat 2018 but happened to apply after we had eight acceptances.

        What was the most impressive thing you saw at the first Trial by Combat?
        Caveat: I didn'’t see a lot of the trials because I was running the tournament. I presided over the final round and one of the preliminary rounds (both times without a ballot), and I popped in and out of a few rounds along the way.

        I thought both finalists were outstanding throughout the championship trial. In terms of specific performances, I thought Ms. Kunkel’'s objections and Ms. Sommers’'s opening statement were particularly exceptional. Honorable mention to Mr. Seigenthaler’'s hair.
        Last edited by Justin B.; December 14th, 2018, 03:32 PM.

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        • #5
          We will be finalizing the Trial by Combat field this month as competitors are accepted and confirmed. Updated competitors lists are available on the UCLA and Drexel trial team pages. Five names have been added in the last week.

          We will issue an updated rulebook next month. I am excited to announce that we will be introducing a semifinal round.
          Last edited by Justin B.; April 9th, 2019, 12:19 PM.

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          • #6

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            • #7
              Originally posted by REO Speedwagon View Post
              [image]
              It's not really a "surprise" now that you've told everyone.

              Is the tournament open to the public?
              Yes. Some of our courtrooms have limited galleries, but you will always be able to watch the trial occurring in the ceremonial courtroom.

              How will the semifinal work?
              We will announce those details as the tournament draws closer.

              I'm really disappointed that TBC doesn't care about diversity.
              Why is every competitor a white guy?
              I have received several emails along these lines. While we appreciate the desire for a demographically diverse field, this criticism seems inapplicable given the students who will be competing this season. See below.

              * * *

              Our field of 16 is all set, and we couldn't be more excited. All 16 have competed at the National Championship Tournament. By my count, they own 27(!) All-American Awards. In addition to six returning Combatants, this group includes seven new schools and our first sophomore. We are also grateful that Penn State's Sangeetha Kannan will be our "All-American Alternate" -- a standby competitor who will fill in if anyone is unable to compete. I will post more information as the tournament draws closer, but for now I am thrilled to our announce the field at Trial by Combat 2019:
              1. Mary-Preston Austin, Wheaton College
              2. Elizabeth Bays, Yale University
              3. Regina Campbell, University of Chicago
              4. Daniel Elliott, Rhodes College
              5. Natalie Garson, Boston University
              6. Sydney Gaskins, University of Maryland - Baltimore County
              7. Sabrina Grandhi, University of Virginia
              8. Christopher Grant, Northwood University
              9. Claudine Isaac, New York University
              10. Stephen Johnson, University of Cincinnati
              11. Mike Kleynman, Rutgers University
              12. Jonathan Kuang, University of California, Los Angeles
              13. Jack Seigenthaler, Stanford University
              14. Sarah Stebbins, Georgia Institute of Technology
              15. Steven Torres, Cornell University
              16. Madeline Witte, Miami University

              Last edited by Justin B.; April 10th, 2019, 10:32 AM.

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              • #8
                Whelp, I don't think it get's much stronger than this....
                1. Mary-Preston Austin, Wheaton College
                2. Elizabeth Bays, Yale University
                3. Regina Campbell, University of Chicago
                4. Daniel Elliott, Rhodes College
                5. Natalie Garson, Boston University
                6. Sydney Gaskins, University of Maryland - Baltimore County
                7. Sabrina Grandhi, University of Virginia
                8. Christopher Grant, Northwood University
                9. Claudine Isaac, New York University
                10. Stephen Johnson, University of Cincinnati
                11. Mike Kleynman, Rutgers University
                12. Jonathan Kuang, University of California, Los Angeles
                13. Jack Seigenthaler, Stanford University
                14. Sarah Stebbins, Georgia Institute of Technology
                15. Steven Torres, Cornell University
                16. Madeline Witte, Miami University

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                • #9
                  Justin B. would you consider live streaming the rounds? or at least the final/semi-final?

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                  • #10
                    VoirDeerInTheHeadlights I know the final round last year was streamed, so I imagine at least that round will be streamed again.

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                    • #11
                      Wow, what a field. I really don't think it gets much better than that. Best of luck to everyone, you are all winners just by being invited. (That said, you don't make it to TBC by accepting anything less than 1st place - the competition for spots in the semifinals is going to be ridiculous).

                      Shoutout to Justin B. for taking the concerns about diversity and representation seriously - 9/16 female, 6/16 POC.

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                      • #12
                        Can someone please write an analysis about the competitors?

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by VoirDeerInTheHeadlights View Post
                          Justin B. would you consider live streaming the rounds? or at least the final/semi-final?
                          Thanks for asking. We plan to livestream the final. (If we decide to livestream any earlier rounds, I will announce it, but it's unlikely.)

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by mangomangox3 View Post
                            Can someone please write an analysis about the competitors?
                            MockAnalysisIsMyDrug where ya at?

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                            • #15
                              Guys, the field was finalized just a few days ago. Moreover, many of us are in grind times (either just getting back from Nationals, thesising, or general final exam time of the year). We have gotten some criticism for not being thorough enough on recent posts, so please give us the time to write a full and complete analysis. We didn't forget, we are working on it. Thank you.

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