After two days of fierce competition and battle of wits, the verdict is in for Florida A&M’s mock trial team. Though it may have lost, the team is already preparing for next year.
“I’m sad the results weren’t different, but I’m very proud of how they performed at the competition,” said Attorney John Washington with the pre-law professional program. “I’m very excited about the prospects we have for next year. We have a really good stock of returning students for next year. “
The FAMU Mock Trial competed in the two-day American Mock Trial Association regional competition in Orlando.
The competition was held at the University of Central Florida where two teams put their wits to the test about the facts and law of a case.
Washington said the team’s losing results did not give an accurate depiction on how great the students did at the competition.
The team competed against some of the top 10 schools in the nation, which included the University of Florida, Florida State University, the University of Miami, Emory University, Case Western and Furman University.
Each team had three mock attorneys and three mock witnesses.
FAMU’s mock team attorneys were Jaamal Rose, Lucas Melton and Micharon Matthews; the mock witnesses were Martine Lunis, Gavin Molden and Akia Sembly.
According to a press release, the team was undeterred even with the loss of attorney Courtney Turner 10 days before the competition.
Matthews agreed to switch from witness to attorney within one week to the competition. The team competed admirably but came up short in the final round losing both ballots to Furman University, which will advance to the AMTA national competition which they will also serve as host.
But the team did not come back completely empty handed. Lunis received the “Best Witness” award.
“I was really surprised and excited at the same time. It was my first time participating and I won an award,” Lunis said. “It was challenging. The case is so detailed and you have to really become that person whose role you are assigned. It was a great experience.”
Lunis hopes to be an attorney and said that mock trial has helped give her insight into how it is done in real life.
“It gave me exposure to technical terms, and provided me with an experience of how the court room really works,” Lunis said.
Twenty-four-year old Reamonn Soto said although he is studying physics, he joined the mock trial team in the fall of 2009. “I chose physics because it helps you to think abstractly and teaches you how to solve extensive problems. All these things helped me become a better asset to the mock trial team,” Soto said. “Being a part of the mock trial team helps me gain many skills such as learning how to stand on your own beliefs, articulate myself to others and structure my ideas. That’s what makes us leaders.”
Sponsored by FAMU’s College of Arts and Sciences, the mock trial team has participated in the competitive event for 20 years with coach attorney William Ravenell, a faculty member in the School of Business and Industry.
During its 20-year time frame, the team has qualified for the national tournament for 13 years and finished in the prestigious “Top Ten Teams in the Nation” nine times.