Harrisburg trial advocacy team wins prestigious competition
Public Relations - Published: March 2, 2013
A trio of Harrisburg-campus students has won the recent Academy of Trial Lawyers Mock Trial Competition, held in Pittsburgh.

Students Langdon Ramsburg, Katie Adam and Mitchell Jones took top honors Feb. 22 at the two-day event, located at the U.S. Courthouse in Pittsburgh. Ramsburg also won the competition award for best advocate. The Widener Law team beat the team from the University of Pennsylvania Law School in the opening round and the team from Georgetown University Law Center in the final.

“It feels great,” team coach and Associate Clinical Professor J. Palmer Lockard said moments after the win. “I couldn’t be happier for the students. If anyone deserves this, it’s them.”

The team argued the defense position in a civil trial involving an auto accident with a struck pedestrian. Ramsburg and Adam acted as the advocates and Jones served as a trial witness.

Competitors argued their cases to a jury of high school students, but it was a panel of five practicing attorneys watching and tallying points who determined the winner. Top-scoring plaintiff and defense teams from the first round advanced to the final.

“This is a unique competition,” Lockard said. Known informally as “ATLAC,” it is presented by the Academy of Trial Lawyers of Allegheny County, Pa. The organization partners with federal District Court judges from the Western District of Pennsylvania, who host the competition in their courtrooms, and with the Allegheny County Medical Society, which supplies physicians to serve as expert witnesses.

Ramsburg received his best advocate award at a competition dinner held Feb. 21 at the Omni William Penn Hotel. He is a third-year, extended-division student. Adam also is in her three year in the extended-division program. Jones is a second-year, regular-division student.

Langdon was pleased with the win and credited the opposing teams for delivering excellent performances. “I will say that the experience the Widener Law team members gleaned from the competition was invaluable,” he said.

“Being an evening division student, this was especially validating because it is hard for individuals in our division to fully participate in a lot of extra-curricular activities,” Adam added. “Our win gives recognition to the level of talent and skill present in our nontraditional law students.”

The competition began in 1963 between law students at the University of Pittsburgh and Duquesne University. It has grown to draw students from law schools on the East Coast and in the Midwest.

Widener was one of 16 law schools invited to participate.