RALEIGH — Campbell Law School advocates are the winners of the third annual Hofstra Medical-Legal Mock Trial Competition making them back-to back champions.
This year’s competition was held virtually from Nov. 6-8, 2020. The competition was hosted by the Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University. Campbell Law was the only North Carolina law school invited to this year’s competition.
Third-year students Kelsey Myers and Joshua Steedly and second-year students Michael Vitale, Holly Rabil and Samantha Wyant represented Campbell Law, and the team was coached by Campbell Law alumna Casey Peaden ’17, who also coached last year’s winning team. The team defeated William and Mary law school advocates in the final round, said Professor Tony Ghiotto, director of the law school’s advocacy program.
Myers was also recognized as the Outstanding Advocate.
The Hofstra Medical-Legal National Mock Trial Tournament is the only tournament in the country that pairs law students with medical students, who serve as expert witnesses during trial. Each year, this tournament presents a difficult fact pattern based on a complex medical issue.
This year’s case was a wrongful death action, in which the primary issue was what medical condition caused the decedent to commit suicide. The law students worked closely with their assigned medical student, Jeff Yang of Zucker School of Medicine, to gain an understanding of multiple competing medical theories, Peaden explained.
“To present their cases, the students had to master the symptoms and diagnostic criteria, treatment protocol and the potential impact of various cognitive disorders,” Peaden said. “The students then had to find a way to present this information to a jury.”
Unlike other mock trial tournaments, this tournament is not a “closed universe.” Meaning, when the students cross-examined the expert during trial, the expert could testify to anything within their medical knowledge. This aspect of the tournament is intended to mimic cross-examination of a real expert and presents a unique challenge to student advocates.
ABOUT CAMPBELL LAW
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 4,300 alumni, who make their home in nearly all 50 states and beyond. In 2019, Campbell Law celebrated 40 years of graduating legal leaders and 10 years of being located in a state-of-the-art facility in the heart of North Carolina’s Capital City.