Law Students Capture National Pretrial Competition Title

Two members of Texas Tech's team also earned top individual honors at the Stetson Law event.

National Pretrial Advocacy Competition Champs

National Pretrial Advocacy Competition Champs
(l-r) Pace, Handy, Crocker and Miller.
Click to enlarge.

Photo Courtesy: Stetson Law

The Texas Tech University School of Law won the championship Sunday at Stetson University College of Law's Seventh Annual National Pretrial Competition in Gulfport, Florida.

Robert Sherwin, an assistant professor in the Texas Tech School of Law and the director of the advocacy programs, said this is the program's 32nd championship in national or international competitions. Stetson Law's competition simulates a three-hour federal court pretrial evidentiary hearing focusing on skills involved in brief writing, moot court-style oral arguments and mock trial-style witness examination.

“I truly believe this is one of the hardest, if not the hardest, advocacy competitions to win because it involves so many different skills and has so many moving parts,” Sherwin said. “Students can't be good at just one thing. They have to be well-rounded in essentially every advocacy skill, and our consistent success at this competition over the years proves how well-rounded our students are.”

Texas Tech Law lost in the championship round in last year's competition and has reached the semifinals in four of the last five years.

In addition to winning the overall championship, Texas Tech Law also won the Best Memorandum of Law Award for the Plaintiff. Texas Tech Law outpaced the Chicago-Kent College of Law for the overall title while the Regent University and Mississippi College law schools were the other semifinalists.

“Our students continue to represent Texas Tech University at the highest levels of achievement, and we are proud of their dedication to academics and competition,” Texas Tech President M. Duane Nellis said. “This is a credit to the faculty at the School of Law and Dean Darby Dickerson's outstanding leadership.”

Two members of the Texas Tech Law team picked up individual honors as well. Katherine Handy, a third-year law student from Plano, won the Best Advocate Award in the final round, and John Roddy Pace, a third-year law student from Lubbock, was named Best Advocate in the semifinal round.

Delaney Crocker, a third-year law student from Lubbock, and Caleb Miller, a third-year law student from Fresno, California, combined to win the Best Memorandum of Law Award for the Plantiff. Both serve as clerks at Glasheen, Valles & Inderman, LLP in Lubbock.

Winning the Stetson Law competition is particularly noteworthy for Dickerson, who served as dean of Stetson Law from 2004 until her arrival at Texas Tech Law in 2011. She was responsible for helping create the Stetson Law competition.

“I'm incredibly proud of our students and coaches for winning this one-of-a-kind advocacy competition,” Dickerson said. “Having been dean at Stetson when this competition started, I know the range of skills competitors must master to prevail.”

Texas Tech School of Law

The Texas Tech School of Law is a leader among Texas law schools with a 16-year average pass rate of 90 percent on the State Bar Exam.

A small student body, a diverse faculty and a low student-faculty ratio (15.3:1) promotes learning and encourages interaction between students and professors.


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