Suffolk Law 3Ls Ashley Durkin and Lauren Hatch brought home the 2015 National Trial Competition Regional Championship in early February and will fly to Houston for the national finals in March. They worked with team coaches every Sunday from 9 to 5 for a few months and on Saturdays too, during the winter break.
The path to victory
Along the way, Durkin and Hatch defeated University of Connecticut, Boston College, and Yale in the preliminary rounds, winning all three trials unanimously (3-0). In the semifinals, they defeated a different BC team, again 3-0. In the finals, they bested BU to win the co-championship; each region sends two co-champions to the nationals in Houston in March. This year the New England teams are Suffolk and Harvard.
An almost spotless record
Given our national team’s history of all-day Sunday practices with outstanding alumni and trial mastermind Professor Tim Wilton, it’s no wonder that our skilled students have dominated New England regional competitions for decades—with a total of 26 regional championships in the last 30 years (in the two major trial events--American Association of Justice and National Trial Competition).
“I don’t have a poker face”
We asked Durkin and Hatch what they learned about their personalities as litigators during practice that helped them in competition.“You don’t want to sound like you’re going after a witness,” said Durkin. “You don’t want to appear to be attacking someone. You’re trying to strike a balance between being sympathetic and a zealous advocate for your side. I also learned that I don’t have a poker face. You know what I’m thinking by my face—I’m rolling my eyes, scoffing. I’m getting better at that.”
“I can certainly be over the top,” added Hatch. “I started to find a good balance between trying to strike passion in the jury and hitting them over the head with my position.”
A fight inside a trailer
The domestic violence case they were trying at the competition involved a fight inside a trailer. The male defendant was accused of hitting the female victim with a hammer after fighting over a picture he was hanging. The victim’s decision to recant her story and conflicting medical testimony complicated the case. Each team served both as defense and prosecution.