Paladins in the Big Apple

Posted by on Jan 23, 2012 in Blog | Comments Off

Dear Mock Trial Supporters:

 I am sitting at LaGuardia waiting for a flight to Charlotte with the mock trial team. This weekend the Paladin’s opened their spring semester with the Downtown Invitational Tournament, hosted by New York University, in the Kings County Criminal Court in Brooklyn. The Downtown is the premier invitational of the season, and Furman was one of sixteen teams that secured an invitation. The field included six former national champions and many of the top-ranked programs in the nation.

The tournament was brutal: The top team, defending national champion UCLA, won 14 out of 20 ballots–for a 70% win rate. There were five judges in each of the four trials. Furman’s record was 8.75–we narrowly missed earning a trophy. Of our twenty ballots, we had five ballots that were decided by a point, and we lost four of those! Argh–he agony of mock trial. We won two ballots and lost three against the 2009 national champions from Northwood University (Midland, MI), lost all five ballots to the University of Washington, won 3.75 ballots and lost 1.25 against Penn, and won three ballots and lost two against Columbia. It looks like we need to try more cases against our friends from the Ivy League!

We were joined in Brooklyn by Dan and Mary Hershberger, the parents of Mara Hershberger ’15, and Maria Rita Anache, an exchange student from Brazil who is staying with the Hershbergers during the 11-12 school year; Laura, Doug, Campbell, Ned, and Dougie DeNatale, the aunt, uncle, and cousins of Ricky Davis ’14; and Lisa and Gary Dvorkin, the mother and step-father of Dustin Magaziner ’15. We love having the families of our students join us at tournaments, since mock trial is truly a family affair.

Our Downtown entry was led by Morgan Bridgman ’12, Atlanta, GA, and Alyssa Richardson ’12, Columbia, SC.

Bridgman and Richardson led the following outstanding young people:

Kathleen Wade ’12, Tallahassee, FL

Ricky Davis ’14, Kennesaw, GA

Mara Hershberger ’15, Martinsburg, PA

Chandler Jackson ’15, Summerville, SC

Dustin Magaziner ’15, Cherry Hill, NJ

Note that there are three first-year students on this team.

We are delighted to welcome back Ms. Bridgman, a 2011 All-American attorney, who was on a study away trip to Europe during fall semester.

Captain Richardson won two individual awards: She was named one of the tournament’s outstanding attorneys, and she also earned an award for her performance as Dr. Avery Smith, who holds a doctorate in biostatistics and testifies for the State as an expert in the operation of the intoxilyzer, which measures the amount of alcohol in a person’s breath. This year’s criminal case centers on murder and DUI charges made against the defendant, Danny Dawson, by the State of Midlands.

We continue to celebrate with Alyssa who now has law school admittances to Duke, Harvard, Michigan, Emory, Georgetown, George Washington, UCLA, and Chicago.

While Wes Carson has left our coaching staff for his new position at Hogan Loevells in Washington, DC, we have added Angela Littlejohn, Furman’s Legal Advisor, and Dawn Williams ’05, to our coaching staff. Our continuing coaching staff members are D. Brad Rustin ’03, Steven Buckingham ’03, Lindsay Builder ’07, Mark Fessler ’05, M. Mitchell Goldsmith ’06, Thomas Azar, and Brent Tucker.

I am happy to report that as of January 3 Coach Builder is an associate at the Wilkes Law Firm in Spartanburg, one of the gold-level sponsors of the Ney National Tournament. Congratulations, Coach Builder!

2012 is off to a positive start. Next weekend, we have two teams in competition, one at the Ramblin’ Wreck Invitational, hosted by Georgia Tech, in Atlanta, and the South Beach Invitational, hosted by the University of Miami, in Coral Gables, FL.