Sixteen undergraduate students from around the U.S. squared off at the second annual Trial by Combat mock trial competition at the Kline Institute of Trial Advocacy June 22-23.
Co-sponsored by the Kline School of Law and the UCLA Law School, Trial by Combat is the first one-on-one mock trial competition for pre-law students.
The competition features pre-law students who have prevailed in undergraduate mock trial contests, requiring them to try a case 24 hours after receiving the case file, receiving assistance from just one coach or mentor.
This year, the case involved the star of a fictitious television program who was accused of conspiracy and obstruction of justice for allegedly paying a colleague to stage an attack that would provide her with publicity. Students played the roles of the prosecutor, defense attorney and witnesses for both sides.
Stephen Johnson of the University of Cincinnati was declared the champion, following a final round against Jonathan Kuang of UCLA.
Sabrina Grandhi of the University of Virginia, Natalie Garson of Boston University and Regina Campbell of the University of Chicago won Third, Fourth and Fifth places, respectively. Sydney Gaskins of the University of Maryland – Baltimore County was named the Best Witness.
A panel of seven judges, including Dean Daniel Filler, evaluated the students’ performance. Justin Bernstein, the director of UCLA’s A. Barry Cappello Program in Trial Advocacy, served as presiding judge during the competition, for which Abbie Heller, assistant director of the Kline School of Law Trial Advocacy program, served as lead organizer.