The Columns

Avery Field '17 Wins All-American Attorney Status at Mock Trial Nationals

— by on May 6th, 2015

Avery Field, a sophomore at Washington and Lee University and a member of W&L’s (undergraduate) Mock Trial team, won All-American Attorney status for his outstanding performance at the American Mock Trial Association’s National Championship Tournament, held April 17-19 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Field, from Goodlettsville, Tennessee, received the second-highest amount of ranks (points) among Mock Trial attorneys in the nation.

The AMTA gives All-American Attorney awards only at nationals because it is the single most competitive tournament.

“To put Avery’s award as All-American Attorney in perspective, let’s assume each team has five students competing as attorneys,–a fair, but conservative, average,” said Beth Belmont, clinical professor of law at W&L and director of the Mock Trial team. “There were about 600 teams competing in the nation this year, so that means about 3,000 students competing as attorneys during the regular season. Of those, after elimination at regionals and again in the opening round of nationals, only 48 teams, with about 240 students who compete as attorneys, make it to the national championship. So, making it to nationals as a team is quite an accomplishment.”

Belmont continued, “Then, of those students who competed as attorneys at the national championship, only 24 were deemed to be All-Americans. So, the All-Americans are the top 24 out of the about 240 attorneys who made it to the championship, which in turn means that they are the top 24 out of the about 3,000 students competing as attorneys throughout the country during the regular season.

“On top of that, in Avery’s division, there were 13 All-Americans. Avery had the second highest score in his division. We are very proud of his accomplishments and of our whole Mock Trial team.”

The Mock Trial team helps Washington and Lee undergraduates develop critical-thinking and public-speaking skills and an understanding of the American justice system and its practices and procedures. They prepare for and engage in trial simulations in competition with teams from other colleges and universities.

Washington and Lee fields two teams each year, both of which compete at invitational tournaments in the fall and the national tournament in the winter. Although team recognition is important for Mock Trial, students may win individual awards for outstanding performances.

“It’s a considerable accomplishment to earn an All-American award in this competition, and it’s even more impressive to do so when you’re a sophomore,” said Andy Budzinski, assistant coach of the Mock Trial team and a member of the W&L Class of 2010. “I’m incredibly proud of Avery and excited for the role he’ll play in W&L Mock Trial going forward.”