By Marc Filippino
Suffolk Law showed once again that it has some of the most impressive trial lawyers in the making, as it’s two-student trial team won the National Trial Competition New England Regionals in February 2014.
After showing their mastery of cross-examination, third-year students Mary Chamberlain and Mark Dolan won regionals held in the Suffolk County Courthouse and Suffolk’s moot courtrooms in Boston.
Yale Law School also won regionals and also will represent New England in the national competition.
More than 50 competitors from 11 American Bar Association law schools in New England participated in the event. Suffolk Law’s other trial team, Rachel McCloskey and Luke Rosseel, nearly won in the semifinals; only losing in a tiebreaker.
“Showing up to law school, I always wanted to be a litigator,” Dolan said. “I thought, ‘You can’t know how to do this just by going to class. You have to actually get out there and try it and practice it.’”
“If you go through all the steps and practice hard, you can own that courtroom because you’ve done everything you need to do,” Chamberlain added.
Chamberlain and Dolan earned a spot in the National Trial Competition held in Austin,
Texas, on March 26-30. The National Trial Competition was established in 1975 to encourage and strengthen students’ advocacy skills and expose students to the nature of trial practice.
Professor Timothy Wilton and several alumni have coached the Suffolk team since the middle of November, with February’s regional competition in the forefront of their minds.
“I am proud to have had the privilege of working with such fine students,” Wilton said. He wanted to “thank them for the incredibly outstanding way they have represented our school to the New England community.”
Alumnus Benjamin Duggan JD’12 competed in the national trial competitions in 2011 and 2012 for Suffolk Law, and he decided to come back to coach this year’s team. Duggan now works at the Committee of Public Counsel Services in Lawrence as a trial lawyer. He said the competition helps build essential skills for students’ prospective careers.
“These students come in with a certain skillset in hand, and then we try to teach them the emphasis on storytelling, story driven cases and humanizing characters in mock problems,” Duggan said.
The final two championship trials were held in the moot courtrooms of Suffolk Law’s Sargent Hall with presiding judges U.S. District Judge Timothy Hillman (Suffolk Law graduate JD ’73) and Massachusetts Appeals Court Associate Justice Gabrielle Wolohojian.
Chamberlain and Dolan have not received their case file for the national competition yet, but are preparing for the contest the best way they can.
“The break will allow us to enjoy the win and get rested,” said Chamberlain. “It will be a big push to prepare for an argument on both sides once we get a file. It’s going to be a whirlwind month going forward.”
“We’re enjoying the time off, and putting [the competition] aside is just as beneficial as practicing and rehearsing,” Dolan said. “But Mary, who I love to work with, and I will be ready to go once we get our hands on the file.”