BLSA trial team headed to nationals

Members of Maryland Carey Law’s Black Law Students Association (BLSA) Thurgood Marshall Trial Team took second place at the National Black Law Students Association Mid-Atlantic Region’s Constance Baker Motley Mock Trial Competition, Feb. 3-6.  

The win qualifies the team to go on to nationals, in which they will compete against the top three teams from each of the six regional match-upsThe national competition will take place at the national BLSA online convention, March 3-7. 

“Competing in the regional competition was an exhilarating experience,” says team member Randall Ainsworth ’23. “Now we are heading to nationals to finish what we started.” 

With Ainsworth, this years team includes Hanna Leonard ’21, Samantha Jonjo ’23, Samuel Kebede ’23, Alexis Lovings ’23, Tayler Littlejohn ’23, Colin Forrest ’23, and Tamia Morris ’23. 

Advocates were evaluated on their overall courtroom presence, command of the Federal Rules of Evidence and Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, teamwork, and timeliness and accuracy of objections. Each trial lasted approximately three and a half hours and simulated a civil trial proceeding with opening statements, direct and cross-examination of witnesses, and closing arguments. 

According to Samantha Jonjo, participating on the BLSA trial team has benefits that go well beyond winning competitions. “Being on the team has taught me how to apply my education to real life problems,” says Jonjo. It has also “...enriched my life because I was able to make strong relationships with my teammates and interact with local practitioners. 

In its 11th year, the Maryland Carey Law Thurgood Marshall Trial Team is coached by Derrick Milburn ’13, an attorney at the Department of Homeland Security and a former team member. Coaching assistants are Sakkara Turpin ’14, Venable, LLP; Trevonne Walford ’15, Kahn, Smith, & Collins, PA; Meryl Seidel ’19, Salsbury Sullivan, LLC; and Emelia Hall, Mullins, Riley, & Scarborough, LLP. 

“Our victory was truly a team effort. We’ve proven that we’re one of the best teams in the country,” says Milburn. “I am proud of each student’s growth, passion, and willingness to work hard to achieve the goals that we set on the first day of practice.” 

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