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Penn State Law team takes second in invitational mock trial competition

The Penn State Law in University Park mock trial team was the runner-up in the recent Buffalo-Niagara Mock Trial Invitational Competition.
Penn State Law in University Park Buffalo-Niagara Mock Trial Team

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – The mock trial team representing Penn State Law in University Park at the Buffalo-Niagara Mock Trial Invitational Competition took second place out of 28 teams in an impressive performance.

“We all worked incredibly hard to get here! Coming in second place shows what our team is capable of and all of the work we put in to get here,” said Keenan Rambo.

"The team – both coaches and advocates – did a great job. They were thoroughly prepared, polished, and had creative theories of the case for both sides. Round after round they were impressive,” said Chris French, Penn State Law professor of practice and director of the Trial Advocacy Program.

With French as the faculty adviser, Penn State Law team members included third-year law students Rambo, Haley Loquercio, Haley Walker, and Kirstyn Watson. The team was coached by Penn State Law alumni Melissa Blanco and Will Sandman. The case was a murder case in which the defendant claimed defense of another person as the justification for killing the victim. Each team tried both sides of the case during the competition, with the Penn State Law team winning every round they argued until the finals, regardless of whether representing the prosecution or defense.

“For the last couple of months, Penn State Law's Mock Trial Program has taken up the majority of our time. We worked hard almost every day to ensure that we were as prepared as possible before the competition,” said Walker.

In the final round, the team fell to Yale Law School’s team, with a 5-4 split decision by the judges. En route to the last round, the team won out against teams from Western State College of Law, University of Illinois College of Law, Hofstra Law, Loyola Law School – Los Angeles, and last year’s competition winner, Florida State University College of Law.

“Competing in the Buffalo-Niagara Mock Trial Competition was extremely rewarding! I have been doing mock trial with Haley Walker as my co-counsel since the beginning of law school, and placing second in this competition with her, Kirstyn, and Keenan was a great experience. Also, thanks to our coaches, Mel and Will, for their help and support!” said Loquercio.

“Our success at the Buffalo Niagara Trial Competition is a testament to the guidance and the hard work of all of my teammates. We are very excited to continue building upon what we have learned this semester to compete at the National Trial Competition in the spring,” said Watson.

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