Trial team captures accolades

A year after it racked up an 0-8 record, the GW mock trial team returned with a vengeance, earning the designation “best new team” in a national competition last weekend.

The GW team posted a 5-3 record this season, which qualified it to debate among more than 60 teams at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa.

GW notched one win over St. Louis’ Washington University, tied Georgia Tech University and lost two trials to Yale and Arizona State universities at the competition.

The two-year-old team boasts no professional legal coaches. It receives most of its guidance from Columbian School of Arts and Sciences pre-law adviser Elizabeth Fabrizio, said Suzanne Bradis, the club’s co-president and founder.

With some financial help from CSAS and GW President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg, the eight team members and Fabrizio were able to make the more than a 1,000-mile journey at no cost to the team’s members, said Jason Kropp, a co-founder who heads the team with Bradis.

Even without professional lawyers behind it, the GW team was dubbed the best new team in its region, a designation Kropp said was a big surprise to team members.

The case students argued at the competition involved a celebrity accused of murdering her son. Students argued whether the murder was in self-defense, Kropp said.

A panel of two judges considered the cases and decided which teams gave the best performance, Kropp said.

“This experience was unbelievable. It was fantastic,” Kropp said.

Kropp said he plans to return next year to push the team higher.

“I want to make mock trial live on,” Kropp said.

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