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Rising 3L Semi-Finalist in Nation’s Most Challenging Trial Competition

Yvette Tyson and Rachel Holt, Top Gun Competition 2016 Yvette Tyson with Rachel Holt

June 06, 2016

Rising 3L Rachel Holt advanced to the Semi-Final Round of the Top Gun National Mock Trial Competition at Baylor Law School on June 4.

Holt, joined by rising 3L YvetteTyson as second chair, was among the top four advocates in the competition, an event to which the 16 best law student advocates in the U.S. are invited to take part.

“It’s an incredible honor simply to be invited to the Top Gun competition,” said Professor and Trial Advocacy Program Director Gwen Roseman Stern.  “The fact that we advanced to the Final Four is a tremendous accomplishment.”

Professor Jared Rosenblatt, the associate director of the Trial Advocacy Program and coach at the competition, described Top Gun as “a real exercise in mental gymnastics.”

Participants in the competition do not receive the case files until 24 hours before the first round begins, giving them little time to digest more than 85 exhibits and information about six witnesses key to the trial, Rosenblatt said.

“Each day, they add more exhibits and more witnesses,” Rosenblatt said, adding that Holt’s ability to adjust to the changing conditions of the trial made her stand out.

“Her performance was stellar,” he said. “In every round, she continued to get better.”

Tyson’s collegial partnership with Holt – forged during the Texas Young Lawyers Competition, where they as a team reached the regional finals – and her mastery of courtroom technology were enormously helpful, Rosenblatt said, adding that “the preparation was vital.”  

The Yale Law student whom Holt faced in the Semi-Final Round went on to win the Final Round, in which he faced the NYU student who had defeated him the year before.

“It was a rematch,” Rosenblatt said, noting that Holt had been undefeated until that point and received a perfect score from judges.