The Championship Round

Well, I wish I could say my kids put in a winning performance. They didn’t. The other team was visibly better; they knew the facts better and they knew the rules better and they used them to their advantage. And one of the rules of the competition is that there is only so much time for examinations, but one of my kids burned up six minutes on an examination that he could have wrapped up in half the time. So I’m pretty confident that they won’t win the championship.

Nevertheless, another student finally found her voice, and spoke with confidence, command, and poise in her opening argument. The second student attorney showed remarkable grace under fire and handled an overtly hostile judge with enough toughness and cleverness to earn a personal congratulation from the judge later. And even the third attorney, the one who lost track of time, did put together a pretty good examination. My fourth attorney, who made the pretrial argument to suppress certain evidence, presented a powerful and cogent argument, thought on her feet, and demonstrated mastery of the twenty or so cases that they were given to study. The students who played witnesses scintillated — every one of them testified beautifully and convincingly, and every one of them gave their cross-examiners a hard time.

So no, they didn’t win. I don’t need to wait for the official results to see that, and no one else in that room would, either. Naturally, I’m a little disappointed. But hey — I had less than half the time to coach these kids, we had to add three walk-ons in the first week of competition, and they made it to the championship round after a grueling schedule. And they’re almost all juniors. Next year, the only way to go is up.

Burt Likko

Pseudonymous Portlander. Homebrewer. Atheist. Recovering litigator. Recovering Republican. Recovering Catholic. Recovering divorcé. Recovering Former Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. House Likko's Words: Scite Verum. Colite Iusticia. Vivere Con Gaudium.