Pitt Honors College Mock Trial Team Places Fifth in National Competition

Issue Date: 
April 27, 2008

The University of Pittsburgh Honors College Mock Trial Team recently competed in the American Mock Trial Association (AMTA) National Championship, finishing third in the 32-team division and fifth overall out of the 64 teams at the championship.

The competition was held earlier this month in Minneapolis, Minn.

The competing teams represent the 64 best teams out of more than 700 teams that began the 2007-08 AMTA season.

“The qualifying process to be among that field is almost as challenging as the championship itself,” said Jennifer Satler (LAW, ’00), Pitt’s Mock Trial Team coach. “This was our highest finish in our nine years in the program and will almost certainly move our national ranking up to the single digits.”

In the AMTA competition, the Pitt team beat Northwestern University, Villanova University, the U.S. Air Force Academy, and the University of Virginia (U.Va.), the back-to-back returning national champions. This was U.Va.’s first loss at the championship tournament since 2005.

Among other schools, Pitt finished ahead of Columbia, Cornell, Duke, George Washington, Georgetown, New York, Pennsylvania State, Princeton, Stanford, Washington and Lee, and Yale universities and the Universities of California-Los Angeles, Chicago, Michigan, Notre Dame, Southern California, and Texas.

The Honors College Pitt Mock Trial Team was founded in 1998 with six members, the minimum number of students required to field a competing team in the AMTA. During the 1998-99 season, Pitt’s team attended one tournament, the minimum number required to maintain membership in AMTA, finishing with a record of 1-7 and no program or individual awards. Pitt was unranked out of a total of approximately 500 teams that competed that year.

This season, Pitt’s team fielded a record 25 competing members on three separate squads and attended 10 tournaments prior to the AMTA National Championship. In the 10 qualifying tournaments, Pitt’s team won nine program awards, including one First Place finish and two Third Place finishes at the two most competitive invitational tournaments in the country. In addition, Pitt students have won a total of 13 individual awards, three All-Region Attorney awards, one All-Region Witness award, and one All-American Attorney award.

At the beginning of the 2007-08 season, Pitt’s Honors College Mock Trial Team was ranked 29th out of more than 700 teams in AMTA. Pitt is the highest-ranked team coached by a woman that does not offer a credited course as part of the program. Before this month’s AMTA National Championship, Pitt’s team had moved up in the rankings to seventh in the country.

Of the 25 current members, five are graduating. Three will attend law school, one will attend medical school, and one will join Pitt as a staff member.