During the final round of the Woody Deem Trial Advocacy Competition, four finalists argued a case determining if the fictional Jake Chambers was guilty of rape or if his defense of victim's consent was valid. At the end of the trial, Erika Nash was named winner and Cassidy Jensen was named runner-up. Grayson Bowman and Taylor Hadfield were the other two finalists.
“Through the competition, I strengthened my skills in legal analysis, teamwork, and presentation,” Nash said. “And it was also a lot of fun.”
The trial advocacy competition consists of several rounds of elimination. Judges score individual performances, and those with the best scores move on to the next round. Judges and trial advocacy members provide feedback at the end of each round.
In addition to providing feedback, current trial advocacy team members mentor the competitors. “There is no way I could have navigated the complexities of evidence and the strategy of trial advocacy without their generous mentoring,” Nash said. “They met with me and my partners on multiple occasions to share insights and provide feedback on our analysis and strategy of the case.
"The trial ad competition allowed me to learn new skills and obtain a better understanding of courtroom procedures. I was able to learn how to speak persuasively, think more critically, and navigate techniques necessary to be a successful courtroom advocate. I had a wonderful experience working with and learning from other students and the competition was a great challenge and a lot of fun."
Participating in the competition provided opportunities to learn about rules of evidence, trial procedure, and how to prepare for trial. “I learned so much that it almost felt like an entire course packed into two weeks,” Nash said.
Jensen shared similar sentiments: “The trial ad competition allowed me to learn new skills and obtain a better understanding of courtroom procedures. I was able to learn how to speak persuasively, think more critically, and navigate techniques necessary to be a successful courtroom advocate.”
Axel Trumbo, a civil litigator at the Salt Lake City firm Strong & Hanni, presided over the final round. The panel of scoring judges included Chase Hansen, Utah County Prosecutor; BYU Law Professor Kif Augustine-Adams; and Tanner Bean, Trial Advocacy President.