Remember that old post from the summer about how the wall between 2L and 3L had pretty much disappeared during my summer school classes?
Apparently that applies to trial advocacy competitions too
I served as the bailiff/timekeeper for the annual 3L Willie Gary Closing Argument competition for the Trial Advocacy Board, and my goodness were the 3Ls nervous.
There were folks who forgot the basic opening protocol (things like saying “May it please the court” or recognizing opposing counsel). The person who I thought gave the best presentation paced back and forth the entire time in front of the jury box. The one who I thought gave the second-best presentation did most of it from in front of the defense table (as a prosecutor) about a dozen feet from the jury box.
Two even sat at the wrong tables
And it wasn’t just new 3Ls who hadn’t done this stuff before getting affected by bad nerves. One of them had won the Mary Wright 1L Closing Argument competition during his 1L year. Two others were part of the T.A.B. leadership. Another spent his post-2L summer in a courthouse practicing via the 3rd year practice rule.
- Though take all this with the requisite grain(s) of salt, since I’ve been told I’m “overly critical” as a judge. [↩]