Very close contest in Spring 2014 Mock Trial finals

March 20, 2014

MockTrial Spring 2014 awardees
Mock Trial Spring 2014 award winners, from left: Chris Campbell ('15), Best Opening Statement; Tommy Du ('15), Best Advocate, Best Cross Examination and First Place Team; Erik Johnson ('15), First Place Team;  Nora Stefanos ('14) and Lupe Gonzalez ('14), Second Place Team.

In what proved to be one of the closest contests in the three-year history of Mock Trial at UCI Law, a team of 2Ls emerged at the top.

As the Mock Trial finals concluded on March 19, 2014, only a few points separated the first-place team of Tommy Du and Erik Johnson from the second-place team of 3Ls Nora Stefanos and Lupe Gonzalez. The practicing attorneys and judges who served as judge and jury in the finals commended all four contestants for demonstrating consummate professionalism and a strong command of the Rules of Evidence and trial procedure. Other observers also commented on how realistic this "mock" trial felt throughout.

More than 30 students competed in Mock Trial this year. The case argued in the competition was a criminal DUI murder matter. At the Mock Trial finals, Stefanos and Gonzalez represented the State, and Du and Johnson represented the defendant. Orange County Superior Court Judge Fred Slaughter presided over the Mock Trial finals, and four other attorneys, Mark Brown, Dan Cornelious and UCI Law Mock Trial alumni Sabyl Landrum and Marissa Oxman, served as jurors/scorers.

Several members of the award-winning UC Irvine undergraduate Mock Trial team served as witnesses, as did UCI Law 1L Sheila Mojtehedi, who was especially convincing in her role as a police officer.

At the end of the trial, individual awards were also presented, based on performance in the preliminary rounds.

  • Best Advocate: Tommy Du
  • Best Opening Statement: Chris Campbell
  • Best Cross Examination: Tommy Du

Though this was the third Mock Trial competition at UCI Law, this was the first that was run by students. The Mock Trial board members are: Irene Chen, Erica Choi, Tommy Du, Cait Emmons, Christine Fukushima, Becca Maloney, Amy Nguyen, William Ninh, and Daisy Ocampo.

Board advisor Justin Bernstein, a business and securities litigator at Stradling, was invaluable in providing training to the 30+ participants and overseeing the structure of the program. Bernstein, who has coached UCI Law Mock Trial since its start, is also the president-elect of the American Mock Trial Association, and the coach for the #1-ranked UC Irvine undergraduate team.