Campbell Law advocates champions at South Texas Mock Trial Challenge

Photo of South Texas winning team and coaches posing in Campbell Law courtroom with trophies

RALEIGH — Campbell Law School third-year students Michael Vitale III, Miriam Sheppard, Camille (Cami) Wrotenbery and second-year student Elizabeth (Liza) Trent competed in the South Texas Mock Trial Challenge from March 22-27, 2022. The competition was hosted by South Texas College of Law in Houston, Texas. 

The team was proudly coached by Associate Dean of Students and Academic Affairs Dan Tilly and Director of Competitive Advocacy Tatiana Terry ’19.  

This year’s competition problem involved a trial solely regarding the issue of damages sustained after two children were injured after attending daycare. Approximately 40 law school teams from across the nation competed in the tournament. Vitale and Sheppard advocated masterfully as attorneys flipping between each round, representing both sides, often on the same day, according to their coaches.  

Photo of Campbell Law advocates Miriam Sheppard and Mike Vitale

The team faced schools from Oklahoma, North Texas and the University of California-Davis law schools in the preliminary rounds.  

“Our students swept their preliminary opponents handily,” Terry explained. “After the preliminary rounds, our team advanced to the octofinal round where they bested St. John’s University, advancing to the quarterfinal round. After defeating the University of Missouri-Kansas City in the quarterfinal round, our students advanced to the semifinal round and had the privilege of arguing in the 1910 Harris County Courthouse where the Texas Court of Appeals (districts 1 and 14) convenes. 

After a hard-fought semifinal round against Stetson University School of Law (currently ranked third in the nation in trial advocacy), our team arose victorious. The presiding judge noted to our team’s coaches that she had never seen such stellar advocacy skills as those displayed by Sheppard and Vitale. This win placed our Campbell Law team in the championship round.  Mike and Miriam represented the plaintiffs against a team from Mercer University School of Law representing the defendants.  At the conclusion of the three-hour trial, Campbell Law was named the National Champion,” Terry added.

This marks the fourth time Campbell Law has won the competition, being named National Champions in 2013, 2015 and most recently in 2016. In addition to being named National Champions, Vitale was also awarded Best Overall Advocate of the Preliminary Rounds, and Sheppard was awarded Best Advocate in the Championship Final Round.  

Tilly and Terry beamed with pride upon returning to campus in Raleigh.

I could not be more proud of these advocates,” Tilly said. “They fought through a pandemic, tried cases over Zoom and then won seven straight trials in their first live mock trial competition.  And they didn’t just win — they dominated with the best individual awards and championship trophy.  This Campbell Law team represents the kind of character, intellect and tenacity we are known for producing.”

Terry echoed Tilly’s sentiments by adding, “I have coached Mike and Miriam all year, in three different mock trial competitions, and I cannot begin to adequately express how proud I am of this team too. Throughout the entire weekend, I had South Texas students, judges, other coaches and other competitors (some of whom they just defeated) approach me and extend sincere compliments about the talents and professionalism displayed by our students in each round. They are truly the best of the best and I cannot wait to see what is in store for all of them in the future.

“The team is enormously grateful to Dean J. Rich Leonard and the support of the faculty/staff who aid in making opportunities like these possible, particularly their ability to travel and compete in person.”  


Since its founding in 1976, Campbell Law School has developed lawyers who possess moral conviction, social compassion, and professional competence, and who view the law as a calling to serve others. Among its accolades, the school has been recognized by the American Bar Association (ABA) as having the nation’s top Professionalism Program and by the American Academy of Trial Lawyers for having the nation’s best Trial Advocacy Program. Campbell Law boasts more than 4,500 alumni, who make their home in nearly all 50 states and beyond. In 2021, Campbell Law celebrated 45 years of graduating legal leaders and 12 years of being located in a state-of-the-art facility in the heart of North Carolina’s Capital City.