BLSA’s Thurgood Marshall mock trial team takes regional crown

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HLS’ BLSA Mock Trial Team Showing off Their Championship Proof; from left, David Knight, Dominique Winters, Nneka Ukpai, and Julian Thompson

In yet another sign of Harvard Law School’s eminent superiority, the Black Law Students Association’s Thurgood Marshall Mock Trial team took home first-place honors at the Black Law Students Association’s Northeast Regional Conference. The team will move on to the National Conference in Irvine, California on March 18, where it hopes to “take the national championship by storm.”

The team, who had all competed together or against each other in undergraduate mock trial, included David Knight ’09, and Julian Thompson ’10, Nneka Ukpai ’11, and Dominique Winters ’10. Winters (opening attorney) and Thompson (closing attorney) represented the government, while Ukpai (opening attorney) and Knight (closing attorney) represented the defendant.

As opposed to the Ames Competition and First-Year Moot Court, which are appellate proceedings, the BLSA Mock Trial competition is a criminal trial that includes opening statements, direct examinations, cross examinations, motions arguments, and closing arguments. At the regional competition, the case involved a defendant charged with misdemeanor hazing, aggravated assault, and aggravated kidnapping after a pledge for the defendant’s fraternity was injured during pledging activities. The pledge remained in a coma.

The team attributed its success to practices that lasted up to 8 hours a night and the “amazing coaching of J. Soffiyah Elijah and Dehlia Umunna” of the Criminal Justice Institute.

Bridgette Hylton ’09, President of BLSA, stated, “I’m so proud of this year’s HBLSA Mock Trial team. Their hard work and dedication was really exemplary of the highest ideals of Harvard BLSA and the National Black Law Students Association, and the Thurgood Marshall Mock Trial Competition. I’m so excited to see them represent our chapter, our school, and our region when they compete at Nationals this year and hope that they’ll clinch the win!”

While the regional competitions have yet to be completed, the team expects strong competition from The University of Virginia and St. John’s, among others. Students who want to be involved in the BLSA Mock Trial competition next year should be on the lookout for an announcement in the fall.

Dominique D. Winters ’10, the Internal Vice President of BLSA, contributed to this report.

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