Law students traveled from throughout the country to gather in Missouri April 11-13 for UMKC School of Law’s inaugural “Show Me Challenge” National Voir Dire Tournament. The competition—a three-day event that encouraged students to gain knowledge and experience in an often under taught element of trial practice—was organized and hosted by S. Rafe Foreman, UMKC’s Douglas Stripp Dean’s Distinguished Professor of Law and Director of Advocacy. The event could not have taken place without the sponsorship of the Danajames Kids Foundation and Bartimus Frickleton Robertson & Gorny, whose generosity supports the study of advocacy. Additionally, hundreds of people volunteered for this event, without whom it would not have been possible.
About the Competition
Twelve teams from law schools across America competed in the tournament, which focused on jury selection skills not often included as part of a lawyer’s academic training. Rounds included conducting the voir dire, acting as second chair counsel and presenting an opening statement. Since the voir dire is an essential skill for trial attorneys, and many cases may be won or lost as early as voir dire, Foreman and UMKC created this event to encourage and promote the teaching of voir dire in order to provide adequate attention to the process during law school.
Texas Tech University School of Law took home first place, edging out the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law. South Texas School of Law and Creighton University School of Law also advanced to the semi-final round, while Baylor Law School earned the Most Professional Team award. Also competing at that tournament were teams from Drake University Law School, Mississippi College School of Law, Southern Illinois University School of Law, and Washburn University School of Law.
In addition to the team awards, several individuals received awards for their superior performance. Ian Anthony from the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law earned Best Overall Advocate, Mitchell Calhoun from Texas Tech University School of Law earned Outstanding Voir Dire, Ashley Sharif from the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law earned Outstanding Second Chair Counsel and Juan Hernandez from Mississippi College School of Law rounded out the individual awards earning Outstanding Opening Statement.
For more information about the tournament, including tournament rules and scoring information, please visit the “Show Me Challenge” section of the law school’s website.