UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – On March 23, 2021, the final round of the Penn State Law in University Park 1L Mock Trial Competition was conducted virtually. The student advocates tried a wrongful death case brought against a fraternity by the parents of a student who died after diving into a shallow pool at a fraternity party.
The first-year student advocates in the final round were Victoria Crynes, Dallas Zebrowski, Alicia Armstrong, and Luke Nelson. Penn State Law Professor of Practice Chris French was the presiding judge in the final round. The defense team of Victoria Crynes and Dallas Zebrowski was named the best team in the competition, while Alicia Armstrong was named the best advocate.
“Honestly, I was surprised to make it to the final round. I owe much of this success to the help of my teammate, Luke Nelson, and the guidance of the 1L Mock Trial Committee,” said Armstrong. “The 1L Mock Trial Competition was a great experience and I am grateful to have had the opportunity to compete against such a talented team.”
"The quality of the advocacy in the trial was the best I have seen in a 1L competition,” said French. “I was really impressed.”
French attributed the high quality of the students’ trial advocacy skills not only to the advocates themselves, but also to the 1L Mock Trial Committee which runs the competition and coaches the advocates. The co-chairs of the committee were Anna Notchick and Bailey Cole. The other committee members were Cody McGraw, Andrew Peretin, Ryan Lamon, Haley Walker, Haley Loquercio, and Makenzie Selleg. Each committee member coached one or two of the ten teams in the competition. The two teams in the final round were coached by Cody McGraw and Anna Notchik, who, perhaps not coincidentally, are members of Penn State Law’s National Trial Team.
“Opportunities like the 1L Mock Trial Competition are the reason I came to Penn State Law,” said Zebrowski. “I am deeply grateful for the hands-on trial experience that was collaborative and supportive – an opportunity rarely given to students so early in law school.”
“Dallas and I are both remote students and through Mock Trial we gained mentors we otherwise would never have met,” said Crynes. “Mock Trial provided an opportunity to practice litigation skills while developing relationships with upperclassmen. After every competition, our scoring judges and coach, Anna Notchick, gave us direct feedback to implement into our next trial. We were constantly learning and improving to be better prepared not only for our next trial, but for our future careers.”