CMC Mock Trial Hosts Double-Regional Tournament; Two Teams Advance to National Tournament

In a span of just two weekends, CMC Mock Trial has had one its most impressive years to dateand the season isn’t even over. In February, CMC hosted the West Coast’s first “double-regional” college mock regional tournament for the American Mock Trial Association (AMTA). The program also had competitive success, earning two bids to the national tournament this month.

CMC Mock Trial has hosted the regional tournament for the past four years, last year starting a partnership with Southwestern Law School in Los Angeles. With the success of the 2010 Regional, CMC was asked to host again. But this time, it wouldn’t just be one regionalit would be a “double-regional” tournament, or two tournaments running simultaneously. This format mirrors the national championship tournament, and has been used in other tournaments previously. This, however, was the first double-regional tournament ever on the West Coast. And with 38 teams from California, Arizona, and Utah, including UCLA, UCI, Cal, and ASU, and about 300 total competitors, this was also the largest regional competition in the country.

Perhaps what makes this feat even more impressive though is that CMC’s program is entirely run by students. While most regional tournaments are run by attorney coaches and funded largely by the host schools, CMC’s tournament was managed by two studentsMelissa Carlson ’13 who served as the official Tournament Director, and Jacinth Sohi ’11, president of CMC Mock Trial. The students did everything from securing competition locations and determining general logistics like catering and parking to recruiting 100 legal professionals from the LA area to judge rounds.

The tournament was held February 19-20, 2011 at Southwestern Law School and the Stanley Mosk Courthouse, both in downtown Los Angeles. The structure of the tournament involved two divisions with about 20 teams each, with a joint awards ceremony, held at the Omni Los Angeles Hotel.

“One of our biggest challenges was holding the event on the same weekend and in the same city as the NBA All Star Game,” said Sohi. “Prices were high, and availability was low. It seemed like a logistic nightmare at first, but everything fell into place eventually and we were able to run a successful tournament.”

Carlson added, “Part of the reason everything went so smoothly was because we were lucky to have a team of six CMC students that volunteered each day, and were really the heart of the tournament. It was truly a team effort.”

Since they were managing the LA-based tournament, the CMC Mock Trial team competed in one of the other West Coast regional tournaments held in Fresno the previous weekend, and brought home awards. Team 1465Jacinth Sohi ’11, Alice Reichman ’11, Dani Spencer ’12, Steven Zima ’13, Sam Stone ’14, and Adam Griffith ’14took 2nd place at regionals with a 7-1 record. Team 1466Jeremy Merrill ’12, Jonathan Hirsch ’12, Meagan Biwer ’12, Melissa Carlson ’13, Kate Johnson ’13, and Tamar Kaplan ’14took 8th place with a record of 4-3-1. Dani Spencer and Tamar Kaplan also earned individual Outstanding Witness Awards.

The top eight teams at each regional tournament advance to the Opening Round Championship Tournament (ORCs), which is the first level of nationals and qualifies teams for the final round national championship. This year’s ORC will be held March 19-20 in Irvine, CA. While CMC has consistently qualified for ORCs, this is the first year that two teams earned direct, instead of alternate, bids to the tournament, and it’s also the first time CMC has placed at the Fresno regional.

“CMC Mock Trial is following up on a great fall season where we picked up not only team awards, but a number of attorney and witness awards,” Sohi states. “I’m really excited that our teams have done this well so far, and I think that it speaks to the fact that we have a lot of depth to our program. We don’t just rely on the individual talent of a few, but work to build successful teams across the program.”

For more information on the program and on college mock trial, visit www.cmcmocktrial.com.

Jacinth Sohi ’11