Texas Tech Law Team Wins National Arbitration Championship

For the fourth time under its current head coach, Texas Tech University’s School of Law has racked up a national arbitration championship.

The school’s four-student team won the national competition Jan. 26 by defeating 16 other teams from law schools across the nation, including the defending national champions from Stetson University Law School, on their home turf in Tampa, Fla.

The Texas Tech team of Jesse Blakley, 3rd year, Missouri City; Mike Davis, 3rd year, Palestine; Tiffany McDuff, 2nd year, Rule; and Joseph Putnam, 3rd year, St. Thomas, Ontario, Canada was the only team to win each preliminary round with a unanimous vote from the judges, which made it the number one seed going into the semi-finals. The team was coached by adjunct professors Murray Hensley and Shery Kime-Goodwin.

"Beating Stetson University on its own turf when it had the home team advantage was just exhilarating," said Kime-Goodwin. "Stetson is known for its advocacy program and was the national champion last year with two team members returning, so it was just really amazing for our team to have prevailed."

The American Bar Association (ABA) and the National Arbitration Forum sponsor the annual event. According to the ABA, the purpose of the competition is to promote greater knowledge in arbitration by simulating a realistic arbitration hearing. Essentially, law school students from accredited law schools participate by preparing and presenting an arbitration case, including opening statements, witness examinations, exhibit introductions, evidentiary presentations and summations.

Kime-Goodwin said it was very evident at that national level that Texas Tech’s students were well prepared to take on the competition and that their litigation skills were a cut above those of the other competitors.

"Over and over again, the four of them just shined when it came to doing their openings, closings, directs, cross-examinations, and knowledge of evidence – the other teams just couldn't throw anything their way that the team couldn't handle," Goodwin said. "It was just such a pleasure to get to see these students in action. These are the types of individuals that firms should be scrambling to hire because they are truly an asset not only to this school but to the legal profession."
The victory marks the fourth national championship that Texas Tech School of Law has won with Hensley as head coach. He has served as the coach for all of the school’s national mock trial and arbitration competitions for the past 28 years. "His years of experience were truly an asset for this team as evidenced by the win," said Kime-Goodwin. "If you take into account the records for most athletic teams, Coach Hensley’s record is to be commended."

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CONTACT: Casey Carson, director of alumni relations, Texas Tech University School of Law, (806) 742-3990, ext. 315, or casey.carson@ttu.edu.