When seven members of North Central's Mock Trial team advanced to compete in the American Mock Trial Association national tournament March 12-14, they didn't know they'd be facing the top teams in the entire country.
Team members tried legal cases against the Universities of Minnesota, Michigan, Chicago and Notre Dame and finished the tournament with a 3-5 record, missing a bid to the National Championship Tournament in April. Co-captain Brett Buckley '10 (photo, third from left) was recognized as an Outstanding Attorney.
Looking back, Buckley says, North Central had the hardest trial schedule and faced three of the top teams in the nation. As the team won its first trials during the tourney, it was then matched against stiff, winning competitors and lost its final trial to Michigan, which moved on to the national championship.
"Our 3-5 finish definitely does not reflect the way our weekend went. Actually, we went into our last trial against Michigan with a chance to make some serious noise," said Buckley. "Had we beaten Michigan, our record would've advanced us to the final contest in April,"
To receive the Outstanding Attorney award, Buckley was ranked the No. 1 attorney in all trials by each judge. "Very few attorneys are given this award and it gets much more difficult as the season progresses to the national level and, as we learned, the competition is top notch," said Buckley. "I really just did my best to be the most likeable, personable and confident attorney at each trial. If you try to be someone you're not during a trial, the jury is going to see right through your act and right through your case and question your arguments."
Buckley says he worked with "amazing witnesses and co-counsel" during the tournament. They included Alyssa Figueroa '11, Colin McGowan '10, Matt Grennell '10, Alyssa Rabulinski '11, Jessica Branch '11 and Tanvi Potdukhe '12.
"Mary Constantino, our attorney coach, was probably one of the best coaches we could ask for," said Buckley. "An assistant state's attorney for DuPage County, she gave so much of her time and didn't really get the recognition she deserved for her work." Stephen Maynard Caliendo, associate professor of political science, also coached the Mock Trial team.
Photo: Mock Trial team members including Constantino, center, holding trophy; Caliendo, far right.