In June, Berkeley School of Law student Collin Tierney won the Baylor Law School’s 2013 Top Gun National Mock Trial Competition, with a prize of $10,000.
Founded in 2010, the invitation-only Top Gun competition creates a challenging atmosphere for competitors. Participants do not receive the case file until they arrive in Waco, Texas — just 24 hours before the first round of trials begin.
Preparation for the competition includes reviewing depositions, records and photographs, and viewing the sites where events in the hypothetical case occurred. Shortly before each round, competitors are assigned a witness or witnesses who may be used at participants’ discretion during the round. The jurors for each round are distinguished trial lawyers and judges.
“I actually had known about Top Gun for several years and it was my dream just to be invited here,” Tierney said after winning the competition. “It was amazing to win a national championship; something I have been chasing ever since I was competing in mock trial while in high school.”
The National Top Gun Mock Trial Competition is limited to 16 law schools with a single student representing each school. This year, the competitors argued a case concerning an Afghan war veteran who was accidentally shot by a fellow veteran and permanently disabled during a fight outside of a local bar. The court was asked to decide whether the shooting stemmed from the bar negligently serving alcohol to the veteran who committed the shooting or whether post-traumatic stress syndrome was the underlying cause of the incident.