The National Trial Team is a faculty-directed program for credit.
All UA Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law students who intend to compete on school-sponsored national or regional teams must first complete one or more courses directed at the kind of skills the desired competition features prior to entering such competition (e.g., appellate or trial advocacy, client counseling, negotiation). Students who intend to compete on student organization-sponsored national or regional teams are strongly encouraged to complete the courses, and must have a faculty coach for their team.
Membership in the trial team is a prestigious and highly coveted distinction that significantly enhances members’ law school experience. Bowen’s trial team comprises a select group of second and third year students who compete in interscholastic competitions throughout the United States.
The trial competitions require students to demonstrate their trial advocacy skills in a simulated jury trial, during which experienced trial lawyers and judges evaluate them. Students are exposed to advanced evidence and trial techniques through classroom, courtroom, and competition experience and participate in simulated trials.
Participating in mock trials while in law school allows students to gain standout skills that cannot be taught in the classroom. Trial Team is the students’ chance to put the skills they have learned to use in a safe setting before they are in a real-life trial.
Academic Information and Prerequisites
As prerequisites, participants must have taken Evidence and Lawyering Skills II. Students are also strongly encouraged to take the Moot Court Competition course. Team members are chosen by the faculty coaches from among students who express an interest in the competition. Completion of the required and encouraged courses does not guarantee selection for the Trial Team.
Students selected for the National Trial Competition Team will be required to take Advanced Litigation in the fall semester and will compete in a Trial Competition in the Spring Semester.
Students who wish to compete for credit on a traveling trial competition team sponsored by a student organization, must also have taken Evidence and must have taken, or be taking, Lawyering Skills II. These students are also encouraged to take the Moot Court Competition course. The student organization sponsoring the competition chooses the students to participate. Taking the required and recommended courses does not guarantee that a student will be chosen.
Calculating Co-Curricular Hours
Credits earned in the Advanced Litigation course count as classroom credits and do not count against the limit of eight co-curricular hours. Credit earned for participating in a competition (whether sponsored by the school or by a student organization) does count toward the limit of eight co-curricular hours. A list of the other co-curricular courses is available at section II.A.5 in the Academic Rules.
Requirement for Faculty Adviser/Coach
In addition to the above, you must have a faculty adviser/coach, whether or not members of the team want academic credit. The faculty adviser will grade the performances of those team members receiving academic credit.
2020-21 Trial Team Members
Daryl Bernard Jr. is a second-year law student from North Little Rock, Arkansas. He graduated from Little Rock’s Hall High School in 2013 and from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville in 2017 with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy. He enjoys being on the trial team and hopes to use the experiences as a foundation for his future career as a trial attorney. After law school, he plans to be licensed to practice in Arkansas and New Mexico or Texas. While he’s been focused on criminal law, he’s recently become interested in transactional law.
Selleck Childress is a second-year law student from Benton, Arkansas. He majored in innovation & entrepreneurship at the University of Central Arkansas. Selleck has worked at the Saline County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office and interned at Impact Management Group. During his time at Bowen, he has clerked at Cross Gunther Witherspoon & Galchus PC. He recently completed an internship at the United States House of Representatives in Washington D.C. and is looking forward to clerking at Rainwater Holt & Sexton in the spring of 2021. After law school, he is interested in pursuing a career as a litigation attorney or in politics. When he isn’t in class, Selleck enjoys hiking, camping, and hunting all over the country.
Nathan Johnson is a third-year law student from Jonesboro, Arkansas. He is passionate about criminal justice and public service, and being part of the mock trial team has been Nathan’s favorite law school experience. It has taught him how to apply the law he’s learning in the classroom and advocate for a client before a judge and jury. It has given him the confidence to walk into a courtroom, even as a Rule XV clerk, and feel confident in his ability to deliver the best case he can. No matter how far out of law school Nathan gets, he says he will always remember and apply the techniques he has learned on the trial team. He has been accepted into the Air Force JAG Corps and will begin his assignment in January of 2022.
Ryan Joyner is a second-year law student and is originally from Morrilton, Arkansas. He’s enjoying life as a law student because he likes meeting people and learning new things. He’s hoping to focus his future practice on criminal and civil rights law. When he’s not studying or working on the trial team, he likes to decompress by spending time with his family or going to the movies.
Sami Kassen is a third-year law student from Albers, Illinois. She studied sociology and psychology as an undergrad. Upon entering law school, she became interested in litigation and advocating for others’ needs. She’s enjoying trial team because she wants to learn how to competently advocate for victims of crime. She also enjoys strategizing and working with peers to achieve a common goal.
Jordyn Kopcow is a second-year law student. She is originally from Colorado and attended Colorado State University for her undergraduate studies. Jordyn is excited to represent Bowen on the trial team as she grew up watching her father as a litigation attorney and later as a judge in Colorado. In addition to trial team, Jordyn is the president of the Hispanic Law Student Association and is very passionate about diversity in the law. She hopes to assist the Bowen community with their diversity efforts and to collaborate with other diversity organizations within the law school. Upon graduation from law school, Jordyn hopes to be a litigation attorney in corporate and employment law, with a long-term goal of working as in-house counsel.
Cody A. McKinney, a former professional firefighter and ocean rescue lifeguard is a second-year law student and a concurrent student with The University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service. In addition to Cody’s involvement as a UA Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law Trial Team and a member of the UA Little Rock Law Review, he serves as Bowen’s ABA Student Representative and the articles editor of The Arkansas Journal of Social Change and Public Service. His legal interests include trial advocacy, social enterprise legislation, and civil rights law. During his time at Bowen, Cody has also enjoyed serving as a Dean’s Fellow, Student Mentor, and Teaching Assistant.
Courtney Neff is a second-year law student from Neosho, Missouri. She completed her undergraduate studies at Pittsburg State University, graduating with bachelor’s degree in political science with a minor in business administration. In addition to trial team, Courtney is a dean’s fellow and works as a law clerk. She is looking forward to participating in trial team and welcoming the challenges posed by public speaking. She hopes to gain knowledge of the courtroom that will transfer to her future success as a litigation attorney.
Laura O’Hara is a third-year law student. After five years as a history professor, she came to start her second career, knowing she wanted to be in the courtroom as much as possible. This is her second year on the trial team. She loves putting her classroom knowledge to practical use and working with the team. When she is not studying, she pursues her love of history and travel.
Jordan Slatten is a third-year law student from DeRidder, Louisiana. She graduated from the University of Louisiana at Monroe, where she obtained a bachelor’s degree in political science and a minor in Spanish. In addition to the trial team, Jordan is the dean’s fellow manager. Jordan aspires to be a trial attorney, and she is interested in gaining experience in the litigation practice area. Outside of law school, Jordan enjoys cooking, exploring the Natural State’s outdoor wonders, and traveling.
Luke Vance is a third-year law student. He graduated from Hendrix College in 2015 with a major in politics and a minor in international business. Before beginning law school, Luke worked at an agriculture and logistics company named Bruce Oakley, Inc for three and a half years. During his time at Bowen, Luke has externed for Judge Waymond Brown at the Arkansas Court of Appeals. He has also clerked for multiple firms in Little Rock. In addition to the trial team, Luke is managing editor of the UA Little Rock Law Review. After graduating from law school, he hopes to have a practice in agricultural and business law.
Lethia Washington is a third-year law student from Atlanta, Georgia. She received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in mass communications from Valdosta State University. Throughout her time in law school, she has enjoyed working in the law school library and clerking at several law firms in the Little Rock area. In addition to trial team, Lethia is an apprentice on the UA Little Rock Law Review and serves as a mentor in Bowen’s mentorship program. She is involved in several organizations, including Black Law Student Association, Hispanic Law Student Association, Arkansas Association of Women Lawyers, and the Arkansas Bar Association. She also serves as the head representative for Themis Bar Review. Lethia is expected to graduate in May of 2022, and she plans to practice personal injury law and tax law.