Black Law Students Association trial team wins regional competition

February 20, 2020

Members of Maryland Carey Law’s Black Law Students Association (BLSA) Thurgood Marshall National Trial Team took first place at the National Black Law Students Association Mid-Atlantic Region’s Constance Baker Motley Mock Trial Competition in Philadelphia, Feb. 6-9.

Going up against teams from Washington & Lee, Rutgers, Drexel, UDC, and the University of Baltimore, Cristian Stroble ’21, Briah Gray ’22, Eunice Kabuga ’22, and Leah Levi ’22 competed in five full trials over the competition’s three days, testing their advocacy skills, preparation, and professionalism. Each trial lasted approximately two and a half hours and simulated a criminal trial proceeding with opening statements, direct and cross-examination of witnesses, and closing arguments.

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.

The makeup of the team is especially notable, with one second-year student and three first years who faced off against opponents in their final semesters of law school.

That second-year student, Cristian Stroble, is the team’s captain. She said she was “in awe” of her less experienced teammates for their dedication and commitment.

“This win was unprecedented,” added Stroble, “and I am so grateful that we were able to represent our school as well as our amazing coaches, the practitioners and judges who supported us every step of the way.”

In its 10th year, the BLSA Thurgood Marshall National Trial Team is enjoying its first, first-place finish in the regional competition.

Derrick Milburn ′13, an attorney in the executive office of the U.S. president, is the team’s head coach 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, Tydings & Rosenberg LLP. 

“It has been an honor to coach such an amazing group of students,” said Milburn. “It’s exciting to see their hard work pay off. Throughout the competition, I saw their confidence grow, their comfort grow and as a result, they are champions.”

Now, the team is preparing for nationals, in which they will compete against the top three teams from each of the six regional match-ups. The national competition will take place at the national BLSA convention in Cincinnati, Ohio, March 5-8. 


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