Press Releases

Posted by: Stacey Shrader Joslin on Mar 19, 2012

Team to represent Tennessee at national competition

NASHVILLE, March 19, 2012 -- McCallie School of Chattanooga claimed the state high school mock trial championship title this past Saturday, defeating rival school Chattanooga Southeast Tennessee Home Education Association, in the 32nd annual Tennessee State High School Mock Trial Competition. The team now will represent Tennessee at the National High School Mock Trial Competition in Albuquerque, N.M., on May 3-6.

The two-day state competition, which took place Friday and Saturday, involved 13 teams and 200 volunteers, including lawyers, law students and paralegals. In addition, sitting judges in the state presided over the trial rounds at the Metro Davidson County Courthouse in downtown Nashville. Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Gary Wade presided over the championship match Saturday evening.

The teams put their skills to the test arguing the fictitious case of Mid-South Insurance Liability Company, Inc. v. Denim N'More, Inc. - a civil case involving a struggling textile manufacturing business that is destroyed in a late night fire. Allegations of arson lead the insurer to deny any claims, while the owner denies any knowledge of or involvement in the incident. As always, the case involved its share of characters, including a secretary making $8,300 a month and a disgruntled employee who moonlights as a speed metal-bluegrass fusion musician, as well as a few clever "red herrings."

It was McCallie's second year in a row to compete in the championship round.It lost to White Station High School of Memphis last year. To reach the state competition, each team had to win its respective district competition held throughout February.

The participating teams and their attorney coaches are listed below. In addition, a "Most Valuable Player" was named for each team. Those students are listed below as well.

1st Place: McCallie School, Chattanooga
Attorney Coach: Alicia Oliver, Chambliss, Bahner & Stophel
Student MVP: Daniel Caballero
2nd Place: Chattanooga Southeast Tennessee Home Education Association
Attorney Coaches: Hamilton County Chancellor Jeff Atherton; Scott Maucere, Maucere Law Group
Student MVP: Vivian Hughbanks
3rd Place: St. Mary's Episcopal School, Memphis
Attorney Coach: Lorrie K. Ridder, Ridder Hurd PLLC
Student MVP: Amritha Kanakamedela
4th Place: Kingsport Area Christian Home Education Association
Attorney Coach: David A. Greene
Student MVP: Jonathan DeTroye
5th Place: St. George's Independent School, Memphis
Attorney Coaches: Lisa Lichterman Leach and Kimberly Brown-Gibbs, Littler Mendelson PC; Alison Wetter
Student MVP: Tara Schulz
6th Place: Montgomery Bell Academy, Nashville
Attorney Coach: Wade B. Cowan, Davies, Humphreys, Horton & Reese PLC
Student MVP: Will Stewart
7th Place: Ravenwood High School, Brentwood
Attorney Coach: Ben Rose, Cornelius & Collins LLP
Student MVP: Ross Hildabrand
8th Place:  Beech High School
Attorney Coaches: Thomas Dean, 18th Judicial District Attorney's Office; Ne'Keisha "Kee" McCormick, James A. Freeman & Associates; Lindsey Ralston, Downard & Associates
Student MVP: Caroline Yon
9th Place: Harpeth Hall, Nashville
Attorney Coaches: Caldwell Collings and Lori Metrock, Baker Donelson Bearman Caldwell & Berkowitz; Megan Sutton
Student MVP: Anna Russell Thornton
10th Place: Dyersburg High School, Dyersburg
Attorney Coach: Jeff Lay, Jones, Hamilton & Lay
Student MVP: Sean Stapleton
11th Place: West High School
Attorney Coach: NA
Student MVP: Blaine Coyle
12th Place: Jefferson County High School
Attorney Coach: NA
Student MVP: Abbigail Stidham
13th Place: Columbia Academy
Attorney Coach: Seth Lasater, Fleming, Flynn & Murphy PC
Student MVP: Shekina Baum
Individual awards for best advocate and best witness were given as well. Recipients are below.
Best Advocate for the Plaintiff 
First Place: Miles Malbrough, Beech High School
Second Place: Bhavya Jha, St. Mary's Episcopal School
Third Place: Christian Talley, McCallie School
Best Advocate for the Defense 
First Place: Jackson Lay with Dyersburg High School
Second Place (Tie): Elizabeth Salsbury, Kingsport Area Christian Home Education Association
Second Place (Tie): Christian Talley, McCallie School
Best Witness for the Plaintiff 
First Place: Sarah Vaughn, St. George's Independent School
Second Place: Joey Harter, Ravenwood High School
Third Place: Grace Gerlock, Kingsport Area Christian Home Education Association
Best Witness for the Defense 
First Place: Eden Holmes, Ravenwood High School
Second Place: Mackenzie Warhurst, Kingsport Area Christian Home Education Association
Third Place: Conner White, Columbia Academy
Team Sportsmanship Award
St. Mary's Episcopal School of Memphis took the Team Sportsmanship Award this year, based on the votes of the other teams and the presiding judges.
The competition would not be possible without the hard work of the Tennessee Bar Association Young Lawyers Division's Mock Trial Committee, the hundreds of lawyers who volunteer their time, and the support of the Tennessee judiciary.
Mock Trial Committee
  • Chair Troy Weston, Eldridge, Blakney & Trant PC, Knoxville
  • Vice Chair Candi Henry, Dodson, Parker, Behm & Capparella PC, Nashville
  • Sarah McKinney Coleman, Coleman Law Offices PLLC, Cleveland
  • Marisa L. Combs, Lewis, King, Krieg & Waldrop PC, Nashville
  • Kristen Corn, City of Franklin
  • Josh Dougan, Rainey, Kizer, Reviere & Bell PLC, Jackson
  • William P. Holloway, Schell, Binkley & Davies LLC, Franklin
  • Thomas S. Santel Jr., Cope, Hudson, Reed & McCreary PLLC, Murfreesboro
Presiding Judges
  • Judge Jon K. Blackwood, Senior Judge, Knoxville
  • Judge Lee B. Bowles, Marshall County General Sessions Court
  • Magistrate Judge Joe B. Brown, U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee
  • Magistrate Judge Edward G. Bryant, U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee
  • Judge Paul B. Conley III, Crockett County General Sessions Court
  • Judge Jayne Crowley, Meigs County General Sessions Court
  • Chancellor Carol L. McCoy, 20th Judicial District Chancery Court
  • Judge Amanda McClendon, 20th Judicial District Circuit Court
  • Judge Lisa S. Richter, Robertson County Child Support Magistrate
  • Justice Gary Wade, Tennessee Supreme Court
  • Judge A. Wilson Wages, Municipal Court of Millington
  • Judge Thomas T. Woodall, Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals
  • Judge Andy Wright, Municipal Court of Mt. Juliet
Local Competition Coordinators
  • District 1: Nicole Grida, Jonathan Nelson, Memphis
  • District 2: Ashley Holliday, Jackson
  • District 3: Cara Lynn, Columbia
  • District 4: Sam Dreiling, Franklin
  • District 5: Matthew C. Cox, Lauren Paxton Roberts, Nashville
  • District 6: Jay Johnson, Springfield
  • District 7: Jason Demastus, Chattanooga
  • District 8: Rachel Moses, Cookeville
  • District 9: Ashley E. Morris, Maryville; George R. Maifair, Knoxville
  • Districts 10 & 13: Jamie Ballinger-Holden, Knoxville
  • Districts 11 & 12: Erin D. McArdle, Jonesborough
A complete list of team rankings, award recipients, participating judges, attorney coaches and photos of the competition are available on the 2012 State Competition webpage
Each year, the Tennessee Bar Association Young Lawyers Division (YLD) develops a fictional case in which students play the roles of attorneys and witnesses. The YLD also supports local tournaments across the state, recruits judges and lawyers to volunteer at competitions, and coordinates the state contest -- which brings district winners to Nashville for an intense two-day competition. The Tennessee High School Mock Trial Competition has been in existence for 32 years. It provides high school students an opportunity to learn about the law, court procedures and legal system and improve their public speaking and reasoning skills. For more information about the program visit the TBA mock trial homepage.