Five mock trial teams gathered in Reneau Hall on Jan. 30 for the inaugural Ody Classic.
The mock trial competition provided team members with the chance to exercise their legal skills. There were two rounds. Before each round, teams were told who they would be arguing against and whether they would be defense or prosecution. Select members were asked to act as witnesses.
“It’s probably the best, hands-on, practical learning experience that people who are interested in the law and participating in the legal field can ever get, to actually take on the role of an attorney or to actually prepare as a witness,” said Wesley Garrett, coach of The W’s mock trial team.
Garrett invited schools from all over the region to compete. Members of the local legal community served as competition judges, including a clerk from the Mississippi Supreme Court and an attorney from Jackson, Miss. To prevent unintentional bias, team captains provided an owl-themed name for their team. Names included “Mr. Know-It-Owl” and “Pigwidgeon”.
Bob Noel, coach of the mock trial team at the University of Louisiana at Monroe, traveled more than four hours with a team of freshmen. Noel believed competing in competitions such as the Ody Classic were the best way to prepare for real-life situations.
“The skills that you get from participating in mock trial are valuable, even if you never go to law school and never become an attorney, because you’re learning how to analyze problems, you’re learning to think on your feet, and you’re learning how to persuade people. And the last time I looked, in any form of business, when you leave college, persuasion is the most important,” said Noel.
The students agreed.
“I like to see the different views of different teams and how they approach certain things. It opens your eyes and broadens the way you would do certain things,” said Christopher Sanders, a sophomore and legal studies major at The W.
Bobble-head owls were given as trophies to the winners of Best Witness or Best Attorney. The W’s Bryn Bailey won Best Attorney. Mississippi College won the award for Best Team.