For release: January 27, 2010
For press information, contact Gabrielle Maxey, 901/678-2843
Two teams from the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law have advanced
to the national finals of competitions sponsored by the National Black Law Students
The Frederick Douglass Moot Court Team won the Southern Region championship round;
the Thurgood Marshall Mock Trial Team was the regional runner-up. Both teams will
compete in the national championships in Boston in March.
The Frederick Douglass travel team, Lachina Algers and Joseph McKinney, are coached
by Andre Mathis, a U of M alumnus and an attorney with Memphis law firm Glankler Brown.
Members of the Thurgood Marshall travel team are Bridgett Stigger, LaTonnsya Burney,
Yasmin Mohammad and Chandra Madison. They are coached by Melanie Murry, associate
university counsel for the U of M.
|Frederick Douglass Moot Court Team, from left to right, LaChina Alger, coach Andre
Mathis, and Joseph McKinney.
The Southern Region, the largest region of the NBLSA, includes schools from Tennessee,
Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South
Carolina, and Puerto Rico.
In the moot court competition, teams argue a fictitious case as if they are in front
of the U.S. Supreme Court. In some rounds, the students argue for the defendant; in
other rounds they represent the U.S. government. They were assigned a criminal case
with arguments involving the Fourth (search and seizure) and Fifth (due process) Amendments.
There were 25 teams in the moot court contest. The U of M defeated two teams from
the University of Florida as well as teams from the University of Arkansas and the
University of Georgia.
“I’m very proud of Lachina and Joseph,” said Mathis. “They deserve all of the credit
for their success. When we started the process back in September, we had a singular
goal of winning the entire competition, not simply performing well. Lachina and Joseph
accepted the challenge and achieved the goal. I believe any goal can be accomplished
through hard work and dedication. Now we have a new challenge and a new goal. We
want to win the national competition.”
|Thurgood Marshal Mock Trial Team, from left to right, Bridgett Stigger, LaTonnsya
Burney, Yasmin Mohammad and Chandra Madison. Not pictured is coach Melanie Murry,
associate counsel for the University of Memphis.
In a mock trial, teams conduct a simulated trial based on a set problem, calling witnesses
and addressing the jury. This year’s case is a criminal matter involving theft of
a trade secret. Students have to be prepared to argue for the prosecution or defense.
There were 20 teams in the Thurgood Marshall competition; the U of M placed second
in the region in the final round.
“Coming in second place is a true testament to the students’ hard work, drive, and
ability to adapt. It is also an example of the quality of the education the students
receive at the law school. Our goal now is to build on what we’ve learned so that
we can ensure victory in Boston,” said Murry.
“We are delighted to see both teams advance to nationals,” said Barbara Kritchevsky,
director of advocacy for the law school. “Their success is a testament to the teams’
and coaches’ hard work and to the success of the Memphis advocacy program as a whole.”
Dean Kevin Smith added, “We are enormously proud of the teams and their coaches and
wish them great success in the national competitions in March.”