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Saint Anselm College Hosts Mock Trial Qualifying Tournament

January 31, 2012

Laura Lemire
Communications and Marketing

On February 17, more than 240 students from all over the northeast will converge on campus to prepare for a murder trial as Saint Anselm College hosts the American Mock Trial Association's Qualifying Tournament.

The tournament, which is Feb. 17 - 19, features 24 teams of students from schools in New England including teams from Harvard, Roger Williams University, and the University of Massachusetts Amherst. The winning team will proceed to the national tournament.

It begins with an opening ceremony on Friday followed by the first round of competition. There are four rounds, ending with an awards banquet at Davison Hall, the college's dining facility, on Sunday. The tournament features a criminal case with teams acting as the defense and prosecution for a murder trial. Ten students from each team compete as attorneys, witnesses or both.

More than 50 lawyers, law students, and judges have volunteered to serve as mock trial judges, many of which are college alumni. Tournament administrators are still looking for volunteers; if others are interested in participating, apply here.

The Saint Anselm College team is honored to host the tournament. Student liaison, Grace Keating '14, said, "We're so excited and proud to show off our school and share Saint Anselm College's Benedictine hospitality."

Club Team Prepares for Trial
Founded in 2009 by former captain, alumna, Alexandra Puglisi '11 and a current competitor, the college's mock trial team has 17 members of diverse majors from history and nursing to politics. In three years, the team has celebrated significant victories at past tournaments and earned respect from the mock trial community.

Club members prepare for competition by working together to build a strong case. They often spend as many as ten hours a week using their courtroom knowledge to develop strong opening and closing statements as well as every detail in between.

Through mock trial, the students learn communication and public speaking skills. They debate with opposing counsel, question witnesses and analyze cases. Advisor and politics professor, Jennifer Lucas agrees saying it's a fantastic opportunity for students to practice public speaking and debate, adding that they also "develop skills in logic, legal reasoning, and research, all while getting to actually argue a case in front of an audience."

"The competitions feel like you're really in a courtroom, and are great networking opportunities and preparation for law school or any career where you have to think of your feet."

For additional information visit the tournament website.

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