Southwestern Takes First Place at Regional NBLSA Mock Trial Competition
Southwestern students took First Place at the Western Regional Rounds of the National Black Law Student Association (NBLSA) Mock Trial Competition. At the rounds held at McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento in January, the team of Shani Harris, Alex Hobson, Justin Rabi and Davetta Selma defeated the University of San Francisco School of Law, Phoenix School of Law and the University of Washington (last year's champions) in the semi-finals. In the finals, Southwestern triumphed over the University of Hawaii to take First Place. The team will compete at the national competition, which will be held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in March.
Professor Isabelle Gunning coached the team, which began preparing for the competition in October and met several days a week up until the competition. Fellow students Jahmy Graham (a member of TAHP) and Marcus E. Williams (who competed on the BLSA trial team last year) assisted with coaching and critiquing the team as well.
"I am in still in a state of shock that we can now proclaim ourselves Western Regional Champions!" Davetta Selma said. "We are beyond proud of this prestigious accomplishment. A lot of time, effort, dedication and sacrifice went into preparing, so there was this immense feeling of relief once we finished competing in the finals and pride in knowing we had given our absolute best, regardless of the outcome."
In sharing the news, Professor Gunning noted that the team dedicated the win to the late Professor Karen Smith, an advisor and strong supporter of BLSA for many years.
In the case argued, the defendant was charged with five counts: knowingly selling or distributing cocaine, possession with the intent to sell marijuana, maliciously wounding with the intent to disfigure another, using a firearm while committing or attempting to commit malicious wounding, and knowingly and intentionally possessing a firearm, after having been convicted of a violent felony.