Circumstances have forced many changes in this year’s collegiate Mock Trial competitive season, but at least one thing has stayed constant: students from Northwood University continue to win awards.
Northwood finished seventh at the Great American Mock Trial Invitational (GAMTI) tournament held on Nov. 21-22. The tournament was conducted by the University of Virginia using online meeting technology, with students competing from their home schools in real-time courtroom simulations. Each of the 20 participating universities, which included 18 of the nation’s top-30 programs, took part in four head-to-head competitions over the course of the tournament.
At GAMTI, Northwood defeated teams from the University of California-Berkeley, Emory University and one of the University of Virginia teams, before suffering a split-ballot loss to Yale University in the final round. As individuals, Northwood students Lukas Baker and Jake Walters were selected for Outstanding Witness Awards.
Northwood’s success at GAMTI is in line with its status as a perennial contender for a national championship, which it won in 2009. Northwood has also earned division runner up at the National Championship Tournament three times (2008, 2010 & 2014) and finished in the top 10 the last time the National Championship was held (2019).
Miami University, the nation’s No. 1 ranked team, finished atop the GAMTI leaderboard with 11.5 ballot wins and a 19.5 opponent combined strength (CS) rating. That was followed by the University of Chicago (9 wins, 20 CS), Duke University (8.5 wins, 20.5 CS), Yale University (8 wins, 20 CS), the University of Virginia (7 wins, 30.5 CS), Tufts University (7 wins, 28.5 CS), Northwood University (7 wins, 22 CS), the University of California-Berkeley (7 Wins, 21.5 CS), Ohio State University (6.5 wins, 27 CS) and Northwestern University (6.5 wins, 21.5 CS).
Northwood’s GAMTI performance capped off their fall schedule, which included tournaments hosted by Duke University, the University of Georgia and Ohio State University. Individual honors at those events went to Simeon Lawrence, Ricky Ascherl, Jake Walters, Elisse Richardson, Parker Luchenbill and Lukas Baker.
The Northwood University Mock Trial program has been led by DeLois T. Leapheart since its inception. She is a Northwood professor, Law Program curriculum leader, director of the NU Mock Trial program, and is one of only 13 people named to the AMTA Coaches Hall of Fame. In 2019, Leapheart received the Neal Smith Award, which the AMTA presents to one individual annually in recognition of “outstanding and exemplary contributions to law-related education and its mission to promote public understanding of law and the legal process.”
The season resumes on Jan. 9 with a tournament sponsored by the University of California-Irvine.
Northwood University is committed to developing leaders of a global free-enterprise society and prepares students for success in their careers and communities. Rooted in the Northwood Idea, the university promotes the importance of free enterprise, ethics, individual freedom and responsibility. Private, nonprofit, and accredited, Northwood University specializes in managerial and entrepreneurial education at a full-service, residential campus located in Midland, Michigan. The Adult Degree Program is offered in multiple states and online for students with transfer credits and work experience who are looking to complete their undergraduate degree. The DeVos Graduate School of Management offers MBA and Master of Science degrees in Finance, Business Analytics, and Organizational Leadership with day and evening, and online delivery options. The Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) program is delivered online, with a differentiated focus on leadership and business analytics using both qualitative and quantitative methodologies. International education is offered through study abroad and at International Program Centers in Switzerland, China (Changchun and Wuxi), and Sri Lanka.