ATLANTA—Student Trial Lawyer Association member Ashley McMahan earned the Best Advocate Award recently at the Annual William W. Daniel National Invitational Mock Trial Competition in Atlanta. The event is hosted by the Young Lawyers Division of the State Bar of Georgia.
McMahan describes the award as her “proudest moment at Georgia State College of Law.”
“It’s nice to get validation that you can do something that you really love,” McMahan said. Georgia State Law’s STLA team advanced to the the semifinal round of the competition.
A graduate of Georgia Institute of Technology, McMahan was drawn to STLA during her first year of law school, through the oral arguments section of the Reading, Writing & Advocacy class. While many students dread the class, McMahan found her niche.
“RWA is the thing I enjoyed the most about law school up until that point,” she said. “I felt that any chance to get up and speak and try to do something in a court room is what I want to do.”
STLA’s mission is “to educate and train the future litigators in Georgia.” The team boasts the most successful mock trial record of all Georgia law schools, an accolade which may be due in part to the team’s coach, Tom Jones. McMahan says STLA has prepared her for her pursuit of a career in litigation.
“Anybody who puts forth enough effort and who knows enough and is more prepared than the other person can win an argument; I find that really exciting,” said McMahan, who’s currently preparing for the American Bar Association’s Regional Competition to be held in February 2010. “It isn’t just about learning statutes. You can have all the right cases and laws on your side, but if you cannot articulate that to a judge or to someone on a jury, you’re not going to win your case.”
McMahan encourages other students to find a mentor within the law school for advice on which classes and professors to take and to “get involved in an extracurricular activity that you are really, really passionate about.”
“That’s what’s going to keep you sane when you feel like you have too many classes and more cases to read than you feel like you can possibly do,” she said.
For more information on STLA please contact President Will Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the STLA website.
By Abby Ferrell