UM Mock Trial Team prepares to enter national competition

Last weekend, the UM Mock Trial Team competed against 26 other teams in a Southeast United States regional competition and received a bid to continue on to the nationals competition in St. Paul, MN later this month.
“I was both surprised and not. If you would have told me before the competition started that we were going to receive a bid to nationals, I would not have totally believed it,” Don Donelson, team captain, said. “After we got there and started competing in the early rounds, I felt we were doing very well. I would say that when they were announcing bids, I felt we had a chance of getting one.”
Along with their bid to nationals, Donelson walked away with an award for outstanding attorney in the region.
“Our entire team is very excited about our success at regionals and look forward to carrying it through to nationals in St. Paul,” Donelson said.
Throughout the year, the Team promotes the study of law and offers undergraduates experience so they can learn more about law school as well as the law profession. The members say they enjoy the courtroom experience and competitive nature of the mock trials.
Elham Dehbozorgi, the lone senior on the team and president of the pre-law fraternity Phi Alpha Delta, loves the teamwork and effort that all the team members put in.
She says she was not surprised about their success.
“Our performance during the entire competition was excellent,” she said.
In the past, the UM team has not done so well but did receive a bid to nationals approximately four to five years ago. Last year, they placed 18th out of 24 teams.
“I hope that this year’s success will catapult UM Mock Trial to a sustained level of excellence,” Donelson said. “Outsiders know we have top level sports programs, but not many recognize our academic teams as at the same level. We hope to be a part of what changes that notion.”
The team will compete in the national competition in St. Paul Minnesota March 21-23. UM will competing against schools such as Duke, Yale, Cornell, Columbia and Notre Dame.
According to team members, they will be practicing three to four times a week and contacting a local litigator to help them prepare for the competition.

If interested in trying out for the team next year, contact Don Donelson at

Kathleen Fordyce can be contacted at