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
Marissa Badillo is a second-year law student from Frisco, Texas. She received her Bachelor of Science in Political Science from Tarleton State University in Stephenville, Texas. She aspires to apply the knowledge and skills she acquires from trial team to a career in criminal law or the Air Force JAG Corp. Outside of law school, Marissa enjoys socializing with family and friends, dogs included, and journaling.
Selleck Childress is a third-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.
Tonisha Cox is a third-year law student from East St. Louis, Illinois. She graduated from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, where she obtained a bachelor’s degree in political science. Throughout her time in law school, she has enjoyed being a member of several organizations as well as clerking at several firms in the Little Rock area. Her legal interests include litigation, corporate law, and criminal law. She looks forward to being on trial team and hopes that the experience will be helpful in her future endeavors. When she is not studying or working, she loves to spend time with her family, friends, and puppy named Mr. Brown.
Shyteria Dunlap is a rising 3L/4L. She is a Memphis native and mom to 3-year-old, “Dr. Aydin.” She has experience being on Bowen’s BLSA trial team and is excited to participate in Bowen’s Mock Trial team this year. Shyteria is a licensed educator, and upon graduation, she aspires to pair her education background and legal experience to advocate for juveniles as a juvenile defense attorney and eventually sit as a juvenile judge. Shyteria also plans to serve as a criminal defense attorney and trial litigator. She plans to use her trial team experience in her future roles as a trial advocate and building her legal skills altogether.
Jordyn Kopcow is a third-year law student and second year Trial Team member. She is originally from Windsor, Colorado and attended Colorado State University for her undergraduate studies. Jordyn is excited to represent Bowen again on the trial team as she grew up watching her father as a litigation attorney and later as a judge. In addition to Jordyn’s involvement as a UA Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law Trial Team member, she is the president of the LatinX Law Student Association and is very passionate about diversity in the law. Upon graduation from law school, Jordyn hopes to become a litigation attorney and to continue advocating for diversity within the legal field.
Haden Majors is a second-year law student from Cabot, Arkansas. She graduated from the University of Central Arkansas with a degree in business administration. While clerking in law school, one of the things she enjoys the most is getting to attend court and watch the different trial styles of the attorneys. She considers being a part of the trial team a rewarding and exciting experience because she is developing her own style and laying the foundation for her future career in litigation. When she is not studying, she enjoys going to the lake and being outdoors.
Courtney Neff is a third-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.
Jordyn Nykaza is from Arizona, so she will bring the heat to competition. She and her husband plan on staying in Arkansas upon graduation, which she think her cat appreciates because she loves it here. Jordyn is a Type 1 diabetic, cat-person, PHX Suns fan, and softball diehard. She is excited for competition and how it will help her work through the anxiety she feels when public speaking.
Cassius Price is a third-year law student from Atlanta, Georgia. While attending Morehouse College, he was a volunteer for the Georgia Innocence Project, where he helped build cases doing everything from interviews to evidence collection. Cassius has clerked for Arkansas Public Defender Commission and the Pulaski County Public Defender’s Office. Cassius is also a member of Bowen’s trial team and received an Advocacy Award in Bowen’s most recent trial competition.
Tashia Sowell is a third-year student from Glastonbury, Connecticut. While personal experiences inspired her to study law, her desire to become a change-agent in communities led to her interest in criminal law. Tashia has clerked at the U.S District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas, the Office of the Arkansas Attorney General’s Criminal Department and is currently clerking at the Pulaski County Prosecutor’s Office. Tashia is excited to begin working for the New York Law Department after law school.
Virginia Vanegas is a first-generation, second-year law student from Sedalia, Missouri. She graduated from Rockhurst University in 2018 with majors in Communication Studies, Spanish, and Psychology as well as minors in Leadership Studies and Theology and Religious Studies. Prior to law school, she worked as a paralegal that assisted victims of domestic violence in filing protection orders and various other family law matters. In addition to the trial team, Virginia is also the Secretary of the Latinx Law Students Association. Her legal interests include immigration, employment, family, and criminal law. Outside of law school, she enjoys spending time with her Mini Aussie, Bellamy.
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.