Sorry, had to get that out
So after finally getting things caught up here at law:/dev/null a couple weeks ago, I promptly disappeared again to focus on my upcoming competitions. I’m the “swing” counsel for one of NCCU Law‘s TYLA National Trial Competition teams again this year and have been determined to improve on last year’s just-barely-missed-it 9th place finish…
…and tonight WE DID IT!!!
Teams are a little different year — instead of doing straight 2L-only and 3L-only squads, we have two 3Ls1 and one 2L2 on one team and one 2L, one 2.5L,3 and a 3L on the other — but even with the switched up pairings we still had a team make it into the Top 8 to advance to tomorrow’s quarterfinals.
And not only did we advance, but we discovered (i) we were 1 of only 5 teams4 to win all three of our preliminary rounds and (ii) we also swept all 9 of the judges’ ballots, making us the #1 seed in the quarterfinal pairings!
For a time it didn’t seem like things were going to turn out that way.
NCCU Law’s been getting hammered with budget cuts, so we couldn’t afford to print our enlarged exhibits locally and then ship them from Durham; we had to get them printed here in Memphis before our arrival… only to discover yesterday morning (before the first round) that the order was completely FUBAR’d So rather than spending our time focusing on the upcoming trial we were scrambling to get the prints done like they needed to be, get additional prints for the stuff that never got done, etc etc.
The first round was against the University of Memphis School of Law with EIC and I on defense, and after it was over we felt pretty good — no repeats of first-round jitters like we had at both the TYLA competition and the AAJ competition last year. Then came this morning, with Shutterbug and I representing the Plaintiff against a team from Duke Law. It was the same Duke Law team that won the 1L K-S competition last year so Shutterbug was looking for revenge and did a superlative job; Duke Law’s main strength was the breadth and quality of their objections, but we had a special pow-wow before heading to Memphis where we anticipated almost everything they threw at us.
But then the afternoon session was against a team from Charleston Law and we just knew EIC and I had lost our shot. One of the other side’s witnesses was actually a witness from the Friday night round playing the same guy, so he knew our cross-examination; the Memphis hosts went out of their way to try and find someone else, but couldn’t come up with anybody so we had to roll with it. I think knowing that was an issue had both of us mentally thrown off because neither of us were really “in the zone” like we should have been from that point onward.
By the grace of God we somehow eked it out though, winning that particular round by a couple points
I was so nervous when they were announcing the results of who advanced that I completely forgot my alphabet too. The hosts were announcing winners in alphabetical order, and when they said “E” I dropped my head thinking we had lost again Then they said “H” and I did a little foot stomping before giving the team a bear hug
The 8 advancing teams got called into a side room to get entered onto the chart of Sunday rounds and call a coin toss to see who would be which side. We were originally slated to go against Mercer Law, but their team was late to the meeting (for reasons that’ll be apparent in the next paragraph) so we were given the chance to call the coin toss, won, and were slated to go against them on Defense.
Then we went back to the room to change clothes before getting dinner… only to get called back because apparently there was a ballot error,5 Mercer Law was right in thinking they hadn’t advanced after all (hence why they were late), and we had to do everything all over again with a different team. We lost the coin toss the second time and the sides have switched, so we’re now on Plaintiff paired up with Georgia Law‘s defense.
In addition to us and Georgia Law, there’s one team apiece from Wake Forest Law (NC), Campbell Law (NC), Georgia State Law (GA), Vanderbilt Law (TN), Memphis Law (TN), and Emory Law (GA).
I’m more nervous than a Mythbusters insurance agent about how tomorrow is going to go down, especially after the unexpected change in plans about who’s going on what side. But after last year — and I hate to say this in print because it seems preemptively defeatist, but it’s true — I’m totally content with where we’ve gotten. NCCU Law made it to the Sunday rounds for the first time in at least 3-4 years,6 we are 1 of only 3 North Carolina schools to advance this year, we swept everything, and we snagged a #1 seed… and, the biggest relief for me, I redeemed myself for blowing the first round last year
Totally unrelated to how things go, I want to publicly give some praise to the University of Memphis School of Law on how they implemented the competition this year. They did an excellent job of making sure the judges didn’t know what schools the different competitors were from, reminding coaches and competitors both not to disclose that information intentionally or accidentally, went out of their way to ensure there were no conflicts with judges or witnesses seeing the same teams more than once, the list goes on. The competition coordinators were moving around all over the place keeping things running like a well-oiled machine, and I greatly appreciate that.
And I’m not just saying that because we advanced I’d rather lose a fair contest than win a rigged one.
Aside from all the competition-ness, I also got to see 雅雅 who gave up her weekend to come out and support us, ate some delicious ribs and bbq from Charles Vergo’s Rendezvous, and generally just enjoy having the weight of last year’s failure lifted off my chest. It’s been a good day
I’ll keep you posted on how things go tomorrow, but for now I’m heading to bed so I can get ready for tomorrow morning. Good night y’all!
From the law:/dev/null travel-related archives:
- Memphis TN x2: TOP 8!!! (02/18/12) [this post]
- New Orleans LA: Greetings from New Orleans! (02/02/12)
- Charleston SC: Greetings from Charleston! (10/15/11)
- Toronto CN: Back in the USA! (08/07/11)
- Atlanta GA: Getting caught up (03/12/11)
- Williamsburg VA: Greetings from Williamsburg! (02/25/11)
- Orlando FL: Greetings from Orlando! (12/27/10)
- Virginia Beach VA: Snowmageddon 2010 (12/26/10)
- Memphis TN: Back in the Bull City (10/03/10)
- Wilmington NC x2: Greetings from Wilmington! (Again) (08/27/10)
- Outer Banks NC: Spontaneity FTW (07/05/10)
- Northeast NC: Enjoying a slow roll down NC186 (12/27/09)
- Boone NC: “Tendencies” (11/21/09)
- Asheville NC: Greetings from the Blue Ridge Parkway! (10/29/09)
- Wilmington NC: Greetings from Wilmington! (08/29/09)
- Myself and EIC, who was on the AAJ team last year. [↩]
- Shutterbug from last year’s Kilpatrick-Stockton 1L team. [↩]
- A 3rd-year student in our 4-year JD/MBA joint-degree program [↩]
- Out of 32 teams from 16 law schools across North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee [↩]
- One of the judges marked a defense ballot part of the ballot as a plaintiff part of the ballot [↩]
- No one’s been able to tell me the last time our TYLA team actually made it to Sunday [↩]