Undergraduate Mock Trial Team Earns Top Marks at Regional Competition

Belmont University’s Undergraduate Mock Trial Team scored fourth best of 20 teams at the 2019 American Mock Trial Association (AMTA) Regional Competition in Louisville, Kentucky held earlier this month. In its third year of competition, Belmont’s team earned a bid to the Opening Round Championship Series Tournament (ORCS) in Memphis, Tennessee. In Memphis, students will compete for a bid to the 35th AMTA National Championship Tournament in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

In addition to the team’s victory, Elizabeth Sutphin, freshman global leadership studies major, was named one of 13 outstanding attorneys and Kevin Botros, sophomore political science and philosophy major, was named one of 15 outstanding witnesses.

Sutphin said, “For the past few months, our team has been working so hard to prepare for the regional competition. We went into the competition confident in everything we had learned and ready to do our best competing against some of the best schools in the south. It was so exciting for us to see our hard work pay off. I am beyond proud of my teammates and how much we have all grown over the past semester! I know we are all just incredibly excited for the opportunity to compete together as a team again at ORCS in a few weeks. Of course, we couldn’t have done it without our wonderful coach Summer Melton, who has believed in us every step of the way and has always pushed us to be the best we can be.”

Adjunct Instructor and Attorney Summer Melton, a Belmont College of Law graduate, taught a Pre-Trial Procedure course to team members during the 2018 fall semester and has ably coached this team to its regional success story. “It is hard to express how proud I am of each and every one of my students, “ said Melton. “They work hard. They’re determined. They have faith in themselves and in each other.”

The student-led Mock Trial team is a part of Belmont Undergradute Pre-Law Society, and its interdisciplinary team members hail from four colleges. Representatives include College of Health Sciences student Elia Despradel (social work); Curb College of Entertainment and Music Business student Kaleb Gille; College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences students Kevin Botros (philosophy and political science double major/honors program), Gordon Carroll (politics and public law), Aubrey Keller (english and honors program), Hunter Lindsey (politics and public law), Sarah Anne Pfitzer (english), Luke Worsham (communication studies and honors program); Interdisciplinary Studies and Global Education students Carmen Mendez (legal studies), Elizabeth Sutphin (global leadership studies).

AMTA serves as the governing body for intercollegiate mock trial competition. Through engaging in trial simulations in competition with teams from other institutions, students develop critical thinking and public speaking skills, as well as a knowledge of legal practices and procedures. AMTA sponsors regional and national-level competitions, as well as providing interesting and complex case materials for academic use.