Episode 71: Felder v Koller Campbell Air & Rhodes Mock Trial (with Anna Eldridge)

Episode 71 September 02, 2022 01:01:26
Episode 71: Felder v Koller Campbell Air & Rhodes Mock Trial (with Anna Eldridge)
The Mock Review with Ben and Drew
Episode 71: Felder v Koller Campbell Air & Rhodes Mock Trial (with Anna Eldridge)
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Show Notes

Drew and Ben are joined by Anna Eldridge, the director of Rhodes Mock Trial, to discuss the 2022 case and Anna's history in AMTA. Anna goes through her origin story - including an incredible story of cross examining a former White House Press Secretary while in high school - and talks about what it's like to direct a program as storied as Rhodes. After that, Anna, Ben and Drew discuss the 2022 case, Felder v Koller Campbell Air, and get Anna's thoughts as a former AMTA case committee member on how the case reads to her and what she's watching for as the 2022-23 season gets underway.

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Episode Transcript

00:01.32 bengarmoe Hello and welcome to the mock review with Ben and Drew I'm Ben Garmo hey well Drew we are officially into the amta season I think this is the first episode that we've released ah after this year's case ah came out. 00:05.13 Drew And I'm Drew Evans 00:18.48 bengarmoe We've had an opportunity to dig through and and look at this case and I'm sure the community is is hard at work figuring out what they're going to do about this year's case we're going to get back to that in just one second because we've got a great guest on the show today to talk about all things mock trial and to talk about this year's case. But before we do that we want to go over 1 or 2 little housekeeping things related to the show. So those of you who've been listening for a couple years are used to the fact that we like to do a case episode and for the last four years we've had the privilege of interviewing the chair of whichever case committee wrote this year's case. Ah. We're hoping and planning to do that again this year with Sam And Elise the co-chairs of of this year's case committee amta has asked us to wait for a little while before we do that episode for a couple of reasons. So we're kind of holding off on that for now but we are still planning on doing it looking forward to having a chance to chat with them. The other podcast related item that we'll cover really quick is we are so excited as we've mentioned in previous episodes. We recently launched a Patreon. It's patreon.com/themock review. We did that with the specific goal of hiring an editor and the community support has been so fantastic and so wonderful that we have done that. We have hired an editor. This episode is gonna be the first one or we're working with our new editor which means it's gonna be the first episode where we've got our new release schedule. So you're gonna be hearing this episode on ah a Friday if you're listening to it when it comes out and that's gonna be our new schedule. So starting with this episode I'm sure there will be a few exceptions here and there. But for the most part. 01:50.20 bengarmoe Every other friday throughout the season we're going to be releasing our episodes so keep an eye on your feed on Friday mornings throughout the season to get our new episode. It's a great thing to listen to while you're on the plane or in the van headed to whichever competition. Ah that you're headed to drew before we get to our guest and get to today's episode anything that I missed about. How things are behind the scenes with the podcast. 02:13.43 Drew No I think you covered it I think that we again have just been thrilled with how how much support we have seen from the Patreon and in the discord. Um, you know I will continue to plug the Discord if you're not already there. We'd love to have you. There is no financial commitment required. Just love to you know, add more people to ah continue the lively discussions and especially now that the case has been released. We're hoping to get some fun discussions going there and also it's going to be a great way to find out what questions people have so far and hopefully make that eventually when we get to chat with the case writers we'll have. Lots of great questions from all of you. Um that you wanted to ask so we're really optimistic about that and again just thrilled with the responses that we've gotten and excited to be getting more regular content out to everyone for sure. 03:02.15 bengarmoe Yep I totally agree I hope that if you're listening and you haven't joined the the discord at the very least that that you take a moment to join it because we we want to continue to grow and expand that community. Well, that's enough podcast business for now, let's get down to business for today's episode since we didn't have an opportunity to talk to the case chairs yet we we thought okay. Who can we talk to who's got you know in-depth knowledge both of amta as a whole and also of being on a case committee and we couldn't think of anyone better than Anna Eldridge I'm sure all of you listening know that Anna is the director of Rhodes mock trial and is actually a 2002 roaddes graduate. She competed for the program. On the team in 2001 that won the national championship. She's a 2 time Reynolds and winner as a coach in 2013 2019 I don't have to tell those of you listening just sort of the the depth of ability that rohodesmock trial has but just to repeat it anyways. Rhoads has appeared in the national final round. A record 9 times. No one else has done that more than 7 times they've won four Championships which is tied with Ucla for second best all time and Anna ah was on 4 different case committees while she was working with case committees she worked on the Dawson case in 2012 Bowman and 2014 Bancroft Slash Covington in 2016 and Hendrix in 2018. So I think we've got the perfect person on to talk about mock trial generally and about this year's case. So Anna thank you so much for taking some time to chat with us. 04:31.78 Anna Absolutely um I do I had to make one one comment before we get too far into this because ah my my good friend Neil Shewit would kill me if I did not. Let it go um, uncorrected that we actually lost to Miami in the 2001 championship round that I was in. Um so we did not win but we were there. Um, and I think it was sort of the beginning of my history of losing final rounds that my teams have been in. Um I think that's sort of my legacy. Ah, but it was still great to be there really proud of being in the championship round but I have to give the title to credit to Miami there. 05:39.41 bengarmoe So I appreciate you mentioning that and of course Miami and Rhodes 2 programs with such an illustrious and fantastic history in mock trial. So ah, let's you know and I I really hate doing this but I'm just going to do it anyways, let's take a step back. Um, and let's go back to the beginning of your origin story anna of course you've done so much in mock trial over the years but take us back to the beginning how did mock trial start for you. 06:02.86 Anna Sure. So um I always was somebody that loved theater and acting um and that was what I thought my passion was but my brother is is still actually a professional actor in New York and I didn't think my parents could handle the stress of 2 non-working actors in the family. So um I tried to look for a way to kind of use. What I loved about performing and do it in a venue that was a little bit more potentially lucrative. Um, and so I saw this thing called mock trial at my high school and I decided that I would sign up for it. It was actually called mock law. In in Arkansas where where I competed. Um and so I signed up my sophomore year and I guess I've been a mock trial addict ever since? Um, so you know that was kind of what got me into it. Um, and we were. Ah, decent team. We went to the state finals. Basically every year, but nothing like what high school mock trial looks like now. Um I really kind of only have one I guess interesting story from from high school mock. Ah before I kind of got into. More of what we think of as competitive mock trial now. 07:11.74 bengarmoe Okay, so you said you've got 1 interesting story before you know getting into where we are now so give us the scoop. What's the interesting story. Yeah. 07:25.53 Anna So my my senior year um I had ah a round against this private school in Arkansas called Pulaski Academy um and I didn't know at the time that the person that I was going to be cross-examining and trying to destroy on the witness stand like we all do would later go on to become a white house press secretary. Ah so yeah I cross-examined Sarah Huckabee at the time Sarah Huckabee Sanders now um and we both looked like fashion tragedies. She was wearing I think like a mint green pantsuit I was wearing a short-sleeved double breasted white plaid skirt suit. It was horrible. Um, ah I don't know why that's what sticks out in my mind but when I watch the video I just think. 08:09.92 bengarmoe He. 08:17.40 Anna 90 s um, but yeah, it was kind of what you would expect I asked a lot of what I thought were tough hard hitting questions and she gave me very blunt emotionless responses. So that's kind of how it went. 08:17.26 Drew Yeah. 08:32.64 bengarmoe Well it it sounds like ah she was practicing a skill that that maybe she reused later in life at some point. 08:37.20 Anna Exactly exactly I definitely see the similarities. 08:41.66 bengarmoe Well well Drew I've been asking questions for a few minutes so do you want to pick us up and talk about rhodesmock trial for a minute. 08:44.94 Drew Sure I would love to well and I got to tell you that I think that when I was first looking at colleges to attend as a as a high school mock trialer. I knew I wanted liberal arts colleges I knew I wanted small schools and I have to say that when I came across roads I at the time and still today was blown away by how accomplished such a small school has become and I think most people in amta probably don't realize. 09:18.62 Anna Faith. 09:19.82 Drew Just how small roads is because of how big you seem in the circuit So like take us through a little bit of the backstory of how you guys took a school that has just 1800 students to all of our listeners. Yes, 1800 students go to roads. And have turned it into unequivocally one of the biggest programs in amta like how did that happen. 09:44.20 Anna So I I think so much of it obviously goes to my predecessor Mark Pullman who has been my mentor and ah inspiration and in all things mock trial. Basically since I was eighteen years old both in the classroom. And of course in the competitive circuit and I think what Mark did that that worked really well and it's something that we still do um is he always was looking at what what other people who were doing well were doing so if there's ever anybody out there. That's listening that's trained to start a mock trial program or get went off the ground. 10:17.14 Anna We ordered every video or at least Mark did but we still do order the videos of of championship rounds. We watch what people are doing that works and figure out how to emulate that and I think that's kind of what they did at the beginning and then that's sort of been our process ever since Um, in terms of competitors. You know I think we're in a unique position at Rhodes. So ah, it's always been a program that ah doesn't cut so we don't cut people if you show up and you want to do mock trial. At Rhodes you get to do mock trial at Rhodes so whether that means we run 4 teams or 5 teams. We take everybody. Um, and we just kind of believe we can teach anybody to be a good public speaker and a and a good thinker and um, a persuasive advocate. So that's always the things that we're we're trying to accomplish with whatever student walks through the door. Um, and I think as a result of that you know the culture and the commitment from those students is really strong because we're externally competitive but we're not internally competitive and I think that creates that sort of family atmosphere that that makes our alumni interested in coming back. Keeps the same students doing mock trial for 4 years um and I think has really been sort of a signature part of what's made our program be able to survive through so many changes as as amta has evolved. 11:40.81 Drew 1 thing that I've kind of always wondered is being kind of as small as you guys are but being as as big in the community as you are is that ever kind of a a fun draw for people like you know, not that Rhodes isn't a well-known school. Obviously it's a very extremely impressive institution. But. I mean it's I feel like it's a cool opportunity to be like hey we're we're one of the best in this. We are a program that across the country people know us people fear us you get to go and be a part of that is that something that you've seen kind of develop over time at roads or is something that that is kind of a. I don't know just I think it's kind of it's so cool to me to see that happen for a program. Um, just that's coming from such a small school and and I feel like that would be something that would be interesting to a lot of students just to be a part of. 12:33.22 Anna Yeah I mean I think we're really lucky because I think exactly what you said is true. Um people associate um roads with mock trial and I think that as a result, the college is really supportive of mock trial. Um, and there's no question that we benefit. Substantially from that right? So There are lots of small schools that compete in mock trial that don't necessarily have the same institutional support or funding or resources or sort of institutional memory and I think because we've been able to be such a large program and go to so many tournaments. Um. And kind of maintain that ah the college recognizes our value but then they also you know help contribute to that success because they are so supportive. Um, and I think you know yes students there are students that are that are drawn here I think because of mock trial. Um, but I think a lot of our students come in. 13:13.21 Drew Um, yeah. 13:26.49 Anna Kind of what you were saying already thinking about going to a liberal arts college and they see this as something that the college does well so they want to check it out even if they have no public speaking experience. So ah, the most decorated competitor in our program's history is ah is a. Great mocker, great woman named Kelsey Mcclain um fourtime all-american and she had never done mock trial before she stepped into our program. Um, and so she was somebody who was just a competitor I think she did competitive cheer. Was coming to roads anyway and just saw this as a way to be competitive at the same level that she had done in other activities in high school. So I think it's kind of a mix of people who may become here for that but also a lot of people who just. Come to a liberal arts college and look at this as the way that they can be really competitive at what I always say is like the d 1 level. Um, we're competing against schools much bigger ah than we are and so I think that's attractive to just competitive people in general. 14:28.51 Drew Yeah I I think that makes a lot of sense and I think this next question I want to even caveat it before I say it because I think there are maybe maybe 10 programs in the country that I would even be able to so ask this question of good faith about. But unfortunately. In 2021 roads did not make it to the national tournament and again that does not mean it's a bad season for 99% of programs out there making it to orcs and doing well at orcs is a huge accomplishment but being rhodes. 14:49.30 Anna And here. 15:06.30 Drew Being one of those few elite that it is truly surprising when you don't make it to nationals. Can you just walk us through a little bit of what that was like and then what the program's reaction has been um in response to having I'll call it a down year. Um. For your history. 15:25.84 Anna Yeah I think um, what's tough about it is I feel like it wasn't really a down year. It was It was ah an unfortunate weekend for us and I think we all know right? We we all understand the game. We've all. 15:37.48 Drew Um. 15:40.89 Anna Been a part of it. You've lived by the one point ballot you die by the one point ballot. So you know in 2010 the last time we actually hosted nationals. We came within a half a cs point of not qualifying to the national tournament that we were going to compete in and that half a cs point was the difference between us being there and then ultimately. Finishing top 10 or not being there at all and another school being there and you know it's easy in that moment to kind of forget that all the little pieces had to fall the right way for us to get there. Um. But you always kind of know, especially if you're a coach in the back of your mind that all of those little pieces can fall the wrong way too and I think you know in 2021? That's a big part of what happened I mean our our record was 8 and 4 we lost 2 ballots by 3 points 1 by 2 points 1 by 1. 16:27.63 Drew I mean. 16:32.91 Anna Point um, and you know our record was one that that qualified it basically every ah other orc that happened but mock trial is not all about you know how many ballots you accumulate or who your opponents are sometimes there is like a little bit of variance of luck that comes in um and so I think. From my perspective. It's very different I think than the student's perspective. So when I took over as the head of the program in 2014 but really since I've been back in in 2008? Um I was waiting for that shoe to drop and it was such enormous pressure. All of the time knowing that I was kind of taking on this program with such a historic legacy and everybody was looking at me to mess it up. Um, and so I think that was really really hard. Um, every year just kind of waiting for that. It's going to happen. Nobody can be this lucky. Nobody can keep squeaking it out and we all know that mock trial has a luck element to it. Um, so I knew that that she would drop I think for the students it's it's it's different because you know the students that were on my team that year had done extremely well at other tournaments we had won really competitive tournaments with that group. They were really talented and you know I get to go back I got to kind of go redeem. Um, many things this past year by getting back to nationals and doing well at nationals. But the students that graduated didn't get that opportunity and they're really the ones that I think um. 18:07.36 Anna This was the hardest for especially because we you know we're not naive. We know that the online community is going to talk about it. We know that that the second we didn't qualify that things were going to blow up on all of the forums and I think that was really. Hard for everybody to kind of anticipate because if if you know you know that that that's what people are going to talk about that's of course that's what people are going to talk about um but it doesn't make it I don't I don't think any easier for the students I think it was a little easier for me in some respects because I knew I'd be able to kind of redeem that. Um. And so you know they're they're the ones that I I kind of still feel really sad for. But fortunately all of them are in great ah programs doing wonderful things and you realize that like mock trail is not your whole life and um so they're great. Ah, and and I think for us going into this. Past season we obviously had a lot to prove and really wanted to to get back there and um and start fresh and and you know hopefully get to move forward without having that. That enormous pressure of breaking a streak that existed long before any of us were here. So now. That's that's Miami's problem Miami can can have that pressure. 19:22.78 bengarmoe Yeah, and you know what you were mentioning about you know people discussing it and just the the pressure of that I know that when it happened on on the podcast that that we talked about it and our sentiment was you know roads is not down roads is still roads. These things happen. You know I think we talked about this year that that Harvard at orcs was like a point or two away from not getting to nationals and then they go on win the whole thing it doesn't mean that Harvard had a bad year. Obviously it's just sometimes it doesn't break that way and obviously for so many years for you. All. 19:47.90 Drew Um. 19:51.47 Anna Um I. 19:56.92 bengarmoe Just had such incredible success and and I don't think anyone doubts that that that's going to keep going the way that it is um, let me let me ask you sort of 1 more thing and then I want to move us to talking about cases and you've kind of mentioned this in the some of things you've said, but but there's 1 thing Anna that you and I have in common that a few other folks in the circuit have in common which is that. We really have the privilege and the opportunity to run programs that are that are our programs or you competed for roads and now you you are the director at Rhodes and and same thing for me at umbc um, how does that just sort of in your day-to-day work. Right? that that obviously any program you'd be coaching at you'd care about and in that success but you know you're a rhodes alum you're a rhodes mock trial alum and and how do you think about that every day when you go about doing your job. 20:44.62 Anna Ah, that's a really good question I think um, it's and you've probably had this experience too. It's great in the sense that you obviously know the ins and outs of of where you are and and what the culture of your program is like and what's important. Ah, in terms of the goals of your program and how to navigate within that and what the students are like and what they come prepared to do um and I think all of that is great I think it's the flip side of of that is that you don't have as much experience working with other programs. So ah, you know I mean I coached. For a couple of years at Duke when I was in law school I coached for a year ah a little over a year at georgia tech when I was first practicing in Atlanta back in like 2005? Um, and so I got ah a little bit of a glimpse into how other programs operate but for me, um I love it. I love being at Rhodes and um, it's. My home and and I feel really passionately about the school but man I would love to sit in on another team's mock trial practice and just see how they do things because I am confident that there are so many cool things that other people do that I've never even thought of because I've always sort of been in this one environment. So. I think that's sort of the downside to it but everything else is upside. 21:59.13 bengarmoe It's so funny I've had the exact same thought right? like I've been walking past another team's huddle and like I'm not listening in but I'm like if and how do they do that like it's kind of curious because it's always you know I've only ever known how how we do things. But okay so ah, part of the reason that we wanted to have you on the show was to talk. 22:07.36 Anna Um, yeah. 22:09.44 Drew Um. 22:16.20 bengarmoe Cases and we're definitely going to get to this year's case in just a minute but you have such a rich and fascinating history on the amta case committee you were on the case for I think basically my favorite case I think for some of Drew's absolute favorite cases. Um, so let's just talk about 1 or 2 of those. so so you were on the case committee. For the Danny Dawson case the Whit Bowman case the Bancroft and Covington case and the Dylan Hendricks case so let me just sort of ask a general question first ah being on an amta case committee I have to imagine that that's a rewarding but a challenging experience. So. What is it like to be on a case committee and to be 1 of the people who's responsible for drafting the case that that you know the entire community is going to use. Um you know for for at least the first 2 of these cases for Dawson and Bowman for the entire year right for all the way through even nationals. But even in the later years that the whole community is going to use for most of the season. 23:10.38 Anna It it is I think rewarding um and challenging is the perfect way to describe it. It's very, um, it's very stressful in the sense that you really do want to make a good product but it's very cool in the sense that. Especially if you've been doing this for a really long time There's so many ideas that you can have that you want to implement or so many things that you've seen work that you just have a new wrinkle you want to add in. Um and I think especially um if you've. If. You're a former competitor or you're a coach in this activity. Um, and you've you've seen all these different permeutations of how people interpret things or or how cases kind of grow throughout the course of a year it's really fun to. To have the opportunity to take things that were ideas you had about other cases and finally get to implement them and I think that's the fun part. Um, but it is definitely also stressful and I've I've had discussions I won't say heated because that's that's too strong. But. Ah, we've had very passionate discussions in the past about things that we we felt really strongly about either including or not including um and it's. 24:22.82 Anna Great that you get to have those kind of conversations about this like nerdy activity that we all are obsessed with with other people who feel just as passionately about it but aren't in your like little team bubble I Know you all get to do that all the time through through this venue and so it's probably very similar. Um, and maybe that's the best part of it is actually just getting to work with other people outside your program and and learn how they think and process and and plan strategy. 24:50.96 Drew So as Ben kind of alluded to Anna I think that you've really worked on some of definitely some of my favorite cases. Um, obviously I I only competed with the Bancroft Covington case and and then Hendriks case. But I'm kind of wondering both. I really I want to actually focus in on the Bancroft Covington case per second because that case to me was it was the first one I ever had done but it was really unique and I didn't realize at the time. How unique it was that you have this whole dual defendant setup and that the you know prosecution really. Changes the way the case is going to be argued in a way that I haven't really seen since um obviously sometimes there are small changes whether you call an expert or not but I mean changing down to what are we even arguing about. Um, what is this the the matter here whether it's entrapment or whether it's. Um, just straight bribery. Um, and I I wonder if you can go back for a second because I'm just always curious about it. What the thought process there was of how we want to do that. Why we want to make it such different issues and then if you have any thoughts on having then done a case after it. Why you feel like that hasn't returned. 26:08.20 Anna Yeah, so um, I'll I'll go backwards I think the reason it hasn't returned is because it was so challenging for the students and I think um, you know 1 of the goals of a case committee is to make a case that is. Accessible enough that people who have never done mock trial who are doing this for the first time are not so overwhelmed that they want to quit and not actually do the activity while also creating a product that can sustain so many invitationals and so much examination. Um and and retread by. 26:30.63 Drew Um. 26:36.47 Drew And. 26:41.79 Anna The teams that are competing at the highest level. Um, and I think we were definitely thinking a lot about the latter when we we kind of crafted that structure and I think the reason it it didn't return in the same way in a criminal case is because we were a little bit. More mindful of the former. Um and thinking about you know, making sure we didn't overcomplicate the case for people who were just trying to step into it for the first time. Um, so I think that that might be why people have been hesitant. To return because as you as you know I'm sure the prep work for that case was insane if you were on the defense. Um and ah defense is always they always feel put upon you know? Ah I think every year the defense feels like amta is out to get them. I'm a defense lawyer. So. 27:20.39 Drew Oh yes. 27:32.39 Anna I'm very pro-defen in my normal life. But in amta I feel like the defense just has the easier job and so ah, when you're crafting a case. You're always thinking I think at least in the committees I've been on. Um, how do we make this case easier for the prosecution where there's more control. 27:40.26 Drew Um. 27:51.51 Anna Because cases tend to trend defense as the year goes on the defense gets stronger and stronger and stronger every tournament because they find new and more exploitable holes and so you really want to start the case off with like I think a really pro prosecution mindset especially in a criminal year. 28:10.93 Drew Um, movement. 28:11.39 Anna Ah, where where the burden is so high and so for us this was a way to give all the control to the prosecution absolute ability to say Okay, we can set what we want to do we can make it um as tight As. Of a prosecution as we want based on what our skills are and kind of put the defense on their heels a little bit and how they want to defend it and for that Reason. Ah, you know we did maybe make life a little more difficult. Ah for the defense Attorneys that were out there complaining about it. Ah, but ultimately the case ends up balanced and I think. 28:34.14 Drew Nothing. 28:46.92 Anna Ah, that's a successful product. So I think that was sort of the mindset going in ah of of how do we? How do we really help out the the p side of the case. 28:54.82 Drew Well I will very briefly say that as someone who at the time was a part of the former group as someone who had never done college mock trial before that case made me fall in love with it. So I think it served both purposes Personally I Loved the case. It was definitely an enormous time commitment. But. I Think that sets you up? Well I think then you kind of learn all right. This is this is what I've got coming and like I said I mean I I loved the case I thought it was a lot of fun. Um, Okay so I want to take a second though to like all these cases together having written so many cases having participated on these committees and as you've said gone to work with so many different people. What is your overall thought on how you approach looking at a case I feel like there has to be kind of a unique way that you're going to be able to analyze and break down a case um having written them so many times before that I feel like might be really helpful to a lot of people. 29:48.49 Anna Yeah, so I think um, whenever I'm thinking about case writing um the thought is always on Balance. So Um I think of everything from the perspective of cross-examination and I kind of move from there so to me cross-examination. Has the biggest impact on scores of anything in the trial right? because it's affecting the witnesses on Crosscore. It's affecting their directing attorney based on what they object to it's affecting the Cross-examiner Score Um, it just it has a lot of of Impact. Um, and so. When I look at how to balance a case or what I'm thinking about structuring a case and certainly when I'm thinking about reading a case and and coaching it I almost. It's almost like figure skating or gymnastics. Um, when I'm writing I like to think like what is the degree of difficulty of this cross and so the prosecution in. 30:32.64 Drew 70 30:37.95 bengarmoe Here. 30:41.20 Anna In an ideal world has the same degree of difficulty of cross-examinations as the defense has and I think cases that are imbalanced are cases where ah, the defense has all the really good cross points. Um, they can you know maybe their witnesses. Don't say as much substantively. So. You know it might be harder to come up with really great directs that are full of substance but man they're going to kill the cross-examinations and the prosecution witnesses are full of substance but they're going to get subject to cross heavy crosses and they're going to not have as easy of a cross-examination to do on the other side. Um, and I think I try to fight against that as much as Possible. So ah, making sure that defense witnesses actually have substance so that there's something for the prosecution to cross on and not writing in any cross points into the prosecution witnesses. So none of this like. Oh I once committed a fraud back in 2007 please cross-examine me on it Even if you don't know how to cross-examine properly because the defense is always going to be able to poke holes. It's always going to make their crosses easier um than the than the prosecution who's got to try to establish something. Um, And. Typically are are forced to walk that line between destructive and constructive crosses more clearly so that's always the approach that I take when I think about crafting a case but also when when I'm evaluating a case and I'm looking at it and and my team and and I are talking about role Assignments. We're also always thinking. Okay. 32:16.24 Anna What are the degrees of difficulty of each of these crosses. How does that inform who we want to call we don't want to call 3 highly crossable witnesses on one side of the case. Even if we like them because then you're just giving up Tens and you're taking point deductions on your cross scores every time. Um. 32:31.63 Drew Um. 32:33.49 Anna So that's kind of where my head goes on both of those ah those strategies. 32:38.60 bengarmoe That that is just fascinating to me because similar sort of earlier Anna to what you were saying about how like sometimes you wish you could sit in on another team's practice right? like getting to hear that approach of like how you look at a case and how you break things down, you know it's just so interesting because there are some things about that that I'm like okay that's. 32:49.37 Anna Um, and. 32:58.29 bengarmoe Kind of how I could look at it too and other ways where it's like that's totally different from how myself or I imagine Drew or others would analyze a case and I think it really speaks to just the the challenge of this activity and the challenge of writing these really complex cases. So let's keep going with that topic because I think that's a perfect. Segue to getting us to sort of our final major conversation topic which is this year's case ah felder versus Kohler Campbell air ah it's a really interesting case I know that um you were on ah criminal case committees and this is a civil case but even still you know, obviously there's ah, a lot of similarities. So. 33:33.23 Anna Um. 33:36.91 bengarmoe I want to get your general impressions on this year's case and I sort of have you know I guess ah a clarification to that question which is obviously you're an incredibly experienced coach. You're also a very experienced case writer so in sort of each of those roles. And with the understood understood caveat that I think everybody knows that we're not asking you to disclose all the theories that we're going to see roads running on on the circuit and in two months but speaking generally we'll edit it out and then we'll save them for us. But ah, no, but in in all seriousness. What's your general thoughts. 34:02.56 Drew Um, I mean if you want to tell them we'll we'll listen right. 34:11.69 bengarmoe On the case and what have you noticed as a former case writer and case committee member that has stuck out to you now that you're digging into this case, a little bit. 34:20.72 Anna Yeah, so um, my first initial impression of this case is and I have no idea if this is intentional um on the part of the case committee or not. Um, but ah, it feels like part 3 in a trilogy of cases that I've loved from the civil case committee. So um I have a special affinity for the everest case because it was the the year that I was in the final round we did ah the the everest the Mount Everest case um and you know I think ok, that's the the ground version and then ah we did the neptune underwater diving case in 2013 which was the under the sea version of that and this one is is is that in the air. So. Um there's a lot of similarities I think in the structure of this case to those 2 cases and that excites me as a coach not just because I personally love both of those cases. Um, but because those cases were really successful and I think are among some of the most popular ones that ampt has done. Um, and I think that's because the the formula for structuring them works really well. Um it. It has emotional stakes you care. Um there's the the opening statements. For this case are going to be great. Um, because you actually have a reason to actually. 35:35.83 bengarmoe And. 35:42.64 Anna Care about these people and the fact that they're Gone. You have a victim That's really sympathetic. Um, and I think that that that's going to be a really exciting um opportunity for teams ah to to show some some different skills. It's not.. It's not as super heavy character. It's it's got a little. Ah, more balance among the types of witnesses going back to that I think traditional format of sort of your sympathetic or ah, emotional witness then your character then your're expert and I think it gives teams a lot of room to. Look at their team personnel and structure the way that they want to approach the case around what works for their team personnel which I think will mean we see a lot of different lineups of witnesses across the season. 36:28.39 bengarmoe Yeah, you know it's funny that last point that you just made is one of the first things that I thought and I think it speaks to you know I mean we're I'm huge fans of of Sam and elise the the case committee chairs and also a lot of the people you know, really smart people who are on this committee and it really strikes me as a case. That is written like like by teams for teams not that other cases haven't been that way but that you can look at this and go all right this year I've got three great criers. So it's like boom, you're crying on a boom. You're crying on b you know, etc or you can say yeah I don't really have. 36:48.45 Anna And then. 36:58.90 Anna Okay. 37:02.80 bengarmoe Like that deep sympathetic witness. So maybe we don't go that route. We try to make it a more technical argument and so I think that it'll add to sort of diversity of experience as the season goes on just because you know you'll see you know teams really trying to feel things out and and Drew and I were talking about this not too long ago I think that. Whereas there have been some years where I feel like by even November and December you're seeing a lot of the same trials. We've seen a lot of the same call orders I don't think that's going to be the case this year I think you're going to be seeing different things people changing things up. Ah you know throughout the year just because of the things that you mentioned that this is just a a deep. Well-written case with a lot of nuance to it and I couldn't agree with you more about the opening statements part I'm already excited to start writing opening statements for this case and just like you know, thinking about the the power that that this conveys and and just the the story that it is right. 37:56.44 Drew Yeah I think oh go ahead on? No no, no minute. No, you're totally fine and I'd rather you talk than me. 37:57.28 Anna Yeah I think oh I'm sorry Drew go ahead? Um, so yeah I was thinking oh I'm so sorry that that sound went off all right? Um I was thinking you were you would. We talked a little bit before this about Dawson and I think one of the the Danny Dawson case from years back and I think one of our goals in in writing that case was we really wanted it to be kind of a choose your own adventure product of exactly what Ben was just talking about. Ah, we wanted every school to be able to say what fits what we want to do how do we want to try the case and I think in order to do that you have to have witnesses that are not so independent and they just offer. They're the only witness that offers. Any of these facts about this thing and this witness is the only witness that offers any of these facts about this thing so like in Dawson it was you had different perspectives on on who was drinking what and you could get the alcohol out through like 3 different witnesses maybe in slightly different ways and I think what's cool in reading the witnesses in this case is it feels very similar to that it feels like. 39:00.11 Anna You're not going to be forced in a position where you can't meet your burden If. You don't call all the experts because you're just missing a big chunk of the facts that you have to establish. Um, and you can kind of get those facts from a lot of different witnesses. Without it feeling repetitive if you do call more of them. Um, but you're not forced to call them because it's the only way to get the facts in. So I think they did a really good job of ah structuring the the problem around giving people a real opportunity to do that without having giant holes. The closers at the end of the case. 39:32.73 Drew Yeah I think all these thoughts are are totally I totally agree I think it's a really fun case from that perspective 1 thing that I kind of noted early on about reading this case were a couple things to do specifically with the witnesses. For starters, the fact that this case has. 4 side constrained p witnesses three side constrained d witnesses and then 3 swings feels pretty different than a lot of the previous cases just where we have tons and tons of swing witnesses and you end up having to prep a thousand different crosses because you never know what the permutations are going to be or whatever and it's awful. And think it's it's going back to one of your way way earlier. Points Anna about how to cater this activity for different crowds. The nice thing about having 3 side constrained witnesses at least for each side is that it it means that if you want you don't have to prep a bunch of extra directs. Um, you can kind of know and guarantee I'm just going to call the three I have you know it might be 2 experts but we're going to deal with that and maybe that's what's best for our team and I just think it's kind of an interesting variety that that gives I also wanted to say about the witnesses that I don't know. I don't think either Ben or I could remember and Anna maybe you know of this but it seems pretty unique to have a unrestricted or a deposition witness on both side of the case. Um, both having a defendant and then a plaintiff that are both being deposed where they have a lot of freedom and a lot of latitude. 41:04.53 Drew Um, with what they're going to say I think it's kind of a cool way going back to the case balance point that you made Anna um of kind of balancing that and giving both sides a chance to kind of you know do what they will with the deposition witness and I will say for my part I like seeing more deposition witnesses because that's much more realistic. I think that it's good to practice with de depositions and get more used to using a deposition over an affidavit. Um, so I think it's cool that we're doing that but ah, kind of to formulate all of this just slosh of information that I'm tossing out there into a question What do you think of the witnesses and maybe the uniqueness with which. Um, they've been written into this case. 41:42.42 Anna Yeah I think you've made some really excellent points I think that the the number of side constrained witnesses I hadn't thought about from that perspective. But I think you're absolutely right that that and and certainly you'll be able to talk to Sam And Elise about this and whether that was intentional but it seems like a great way to kind of. Make this accessible but also having the complexity for the teams that want it. So if you want to prep all the swing witnesses on your plaintiff side. You can do that if you're the kind of program that that wants to to create that challenge for yourself because it fits your personnel better and you have the depth to do it. Awesome. 42:05.28 Drew Um, in him. 42:19.28 Anna Um, but a team that's going to regionals and that's the only tournament they're going to has that ability I think that's such a great point. Um, and I I The only time it would have happened and I don't I don't remember if it did with ah with depots on both sides was maybe the age discrimination case. Um I don't remember whether the plaintiff in that Case. Had a deposition or an affidavit off the top of my head I've sort of blocked that case out for memory. But um I think it goes back to like what I was saying about degrees of difficulty I think it keeps things even between um the plaintiff and defense I think a lot of times people Think. Oh We want people to call the defendants because they're they're crossable right? And then the prosecution gets to do the defendant cross. Um, and that there's some truth to that I mean it's It's like a tradeoff. Um you you can have a really skilled crosser that can handle the. Affidavit list cross really well and and I think that is good but it's nice that there's a balance there because then you have the same opportunity where um, a really good crosser. Ah, can have that same opportunity to cross the plaintiff witness the same thing with like a really good witness that can handle basically anything that comes from whatever they're they're Creating. It's balanced and so I like it a lot I like that Both sides have an equal opportunity there to get the the benefits and and the challenges of of. 43:46.38 Anna Getting to kind of make up what you want in that role and that it's very even between the the sides I think that will help balance a lot. 43:53.36 bengarmoe You know Anna we've talked about a couple aspects of this case and there's another one that I want to discuss for a moment because I think you'll have some interesting insight on it. So this is the first case of my recollection since Dawson where amta has provided us with an audio exhibit. Um, at the very least I think there might have been one where we had 1 briefly but we don't have them very often. The most recent one that I remember was Dawson and and I have a question about that in a second but I just I couldn't resist I went and pulled dawson up and I'm looking at the special instructions from Dawson about and I'm sure most people who listen as podcast have no idea about this case. But there's an audio exhibit. It's actually a pretty powerful audio exhibit but the instructions you know this year it's like you know you can use a phone you can use a speaker I'm just looking here. Ah the exhibit must be burned onto a compact disc and played on a portable stereo in parentheses aka boombox or jambox. 44:47.32 Drew Oh my gosh. 44:48.49 bengarmoe Ah, and I just love I just love this so much that in in 10 years we've we've gone from that to just play it on your phone guys. Just just like I remember I've never bought more d batteries than the dawson year because you weren't allowed to use. You couldn't plug it in. You had to use battery power and it was just crazy. But. I just couldn't resist that trip down memory lane because Dawson wasn't was my first case. So an audio exhibit is a fascinating element of a case I remember with Dawson having so many conversations about do we use it? How do we use it? How do we use it effectively. So how do you see the audio exhibit in this year's case just kind of playing into how teams might approach putting together. You know their particular theories right. 45:29.49 Anna Yeah, so um, one I'll say I don't know if you've picked up on this Ben but I I could so I could do it I could do the hey dad. It's me Vanessa and I don't know if you would start to recognize the voice. Ah, but yeah, that's me. 45:40.41 bengarmoe No I was you I did not know that. 45:45.64 Anna Yeah, that's me um I voiced Yeah, ah we actually did that recording my my really good friends from college were um in an Improv troop and then and then started a company called Chatterbox Audio theater and so we recorded that at their little studio. 45:46.98 Drew Are. 46:03.57 Anna Ah, with the fake crash noises and everything ah over and over and over again. Um, so yes. 46:06.92 bengarmoe My mind is blown right now like I'm I wish that the podcast loud. It's good to see my face because my jaw's on the floor I had no idea. Okay, that's so cool. Keep going. 46:17.19 Anna Yeah, yeah, so that was me and then um I also recorded we did have audio exhibits in both bowmen. Um and it but nobody used it in Bowman um, and we had. For I think a brief period of time in bankrupt and Covington and I did that I played bankrupt and I played Covington and I think mostly it was also just like yelling at my assistant to like get me a bagel with like really detailed specificity. So I've been a lot of different people in audio exhibits. Um, and I think that they have worked. 46:33.37 bengarmoe Oh yeah, yeah. 46:48.16 Anna To some extent in the past. But oh my gosh the boombox conversation we had ah was the the mockery even ten years ago for using the word jambox in a case, instruction was substantial and deserved. Um, it was horrible and I don't we try I would. 46:55.12 Drew Um, if. 47:04.22 Drew Um. 47:06.79 Anna And let my students use the the audio after like the first tournament of the year because 2 reasons one I could not stand the sound of my own voice and and they would laugh because they knew it was I was like it kills all of the tragedies. You can't use it um and 2 it just skipped that stupid Cd would. 47:19.32 bengarmoe Ah, yeah. 47:25.40 bengarmoe Oh yeah. 47:26.68 Anna Yeah, and then you have to replay it because you could You could only play it if you played the whole thing and we had a real tragic situation where like the volume wasn't turned up and it got turned up halfway through and that the team objected and we had to replay it nightmare So I think this process is way better. Um I Think. It will be interesting to see how impactful it is um in different rounds and I I think ah I'll be really curious to see how teams integrate it certainly This is a much better format. Ah, but technical issues will exist and will occur and I would say practice a lot. With your equipment because nothing is more awkward than being the directing attorney when your coconsel is setting a button and nothing is happening and you just kill all emotional ah impact from it. Ah, but I like it I Love cool exhibits I Love that we're we're going to have physical exhibits that stuff I think is amazing. Um, ah, especially celebrating the return to in-person mock trial ah waving stuff around a courtroom playing stuff in a courtroom I think it's all super Cool. So I'm really excited for it. 48:36.90 bengarmoe You know what you were just saying was actually going to be my last follow up on this topic. So I'll expand on it real quick which is you know this is you know knock on wood hopefully going to be pretty much a fully in-person season. We sort of had that you know last year by the end was mostly in person. But obviously we impacted virtual for some period of time. And the the case committee has given us several opportunities to use you know actual physical items in the courtroom which seems to be I would say in mock trial more broadly at at all the different levels I think is kind of an emerging trend that you're seeing you know top gun and trial by combat and some of these other tournaments. Ah. Try to embrace things like that a little bit more. So can you say a little bit more about that and just how you think that actual physical exhibits could influence how this case is used. 49:20.58 Anna Yeah I mean I think anything that gives students the opportunity to to demonstrate evidentiary procedure not just in the technical standpoint but but gives it a little flair I think is really cool. Um, you know online felt like we were. We were becoming a competition in graphic design and ah you know so much the star of of a lot of those rounds became the demos that people came up with and I love Demos too I think they're cool, but what I like about them is the way that students interact with them which you kind of lost a little bit in online and we were just like looking at pretty things. Um. So I Love that. Not only are we kind of getting back to ah real life courtrooms but you know a good attorney is going to look much better using physical evidence in a courtroom than an average attorney and anything that creates a little bit of separation that allows the the. The people who are at the top levels of this competition in terms of skill to show that that skill and show that differentiation I think it's a good thing and if you're a really good physical attorney and you can walk around with a piece of evidence and make it dramatic then you're going to score more points. And as you should over an attorney that is maybe a little bit less comfortable in a courtroom. So. It's not it doesn't just make it I think more fun but it also allows for that skill differentiation to really come through which I think is a net positive for everybody who wants. 50:49.77 Anna As much competitive purity in the activity as possible. 50:53.91 bengarmoe Yeah I totally agree with that I you know virtual is necessary. We all understand why it was necessary but getting back to teaching those in-person courtroom skills I think is just such a unique part of this activity and part of why we all love it. Ah so. I think sort of our last case related questions before we we start to wrap up here. Ah, we've we've asked this question in past years especially to case authors and people who've read the case you're someone of course who who knows a lot of different amta cases. So any. Past case references and this one that that you picked up or any like little nuggets that you picked up on that that maybe stood out to you because I feel like the the committee just loves to find new ways every year to to toss in a reference here and there about about something from a case that maybe Drew and I have never even done. 51:40.67 Anna Yeah, so I mean I think um, you certainly see I drew the the parallel I think to to Neptune and and to everest and I'll be really curious when you talk to Sam and elise whether that was intentional or accidental um would love to know? um. And you see the neptune case law cited in the case law which made me think ok this is this is probably somewhat intentional and I think um, you know we've seen so many references to the drug everest in past cases which also obviously comes from um from that. So ah, you know that one's the the case law stood out to me in that respect. The most random I think case um or throwback in here is the ridiculously long name of whatever the firm was that they're alleging burned down chugie is on purpose. It was like all the names of the criminal case committee from last year which I thought was so random and funny. Um, but I was like what why is. 52:28.59 bengarmoe Yeah, yeah. 52:35.51 Anna So and they took me a second to realize that that's what they were doing so I thought that was cute. Um, and you know I I always love that amta is starting over time to feel more like a real venue and that we see case law repeated. Ah, from years to years. It's better for the students because then they can like learn the case law and use it in subsequent seasons. But I love when the cases kind of build upon past cases to create new case law. So I'm always a fan of case committees doing that and there are a couple of instances where they've done that here and I think that's always. Um, a good treat for for coaches that they read these things every year but also for students that might even see a case that they've argued in the past kind of see the outcome if it were real ah written into case law. 53:24.75 Drew I Got to say I agree I think it's it's cool even now um being someone that's slightly removed from the activity as I read the case when I see little nuggets of things that I'm like oh yeah, like I remember that or I mean there are things now that just have become part of the case law that I'm like yeah you know. 53:41.92 Anna And here. 53:42.78 Drew I've argued the Kozak case like that's now become just established case law and it's kind of fun that that stays with it so that makes a lot of sense. 1 thing I wanted to kind of wrap us up with Anna is that looking towards this season Rhodes has a very special role to play and that is as the host of nationals. So just as kind of a wrap-up. Can you give us a quick preview of what your hopes are for nationals this year if you have anything um that you can tell us about um to get us excited. It's like a five and a half hour drive from tulane and I'm very much so thinking about trying to come so. You know, let us know what What's what? what can we have to expect about nationals this year. 54:19.63 Anna So number 1 please do come please do sign up to judge because I think it'd be great and and I'm I'm going to put a call out to anybody that he alum's in the amta universe that's near Memphis. We have a lot of great law schools that are in and around us and so I know a lot of. Amta Alums come and end up in places that are nearby. We love having judges that have mock trial experience. Um, especially when they're litigators who have mock trial experience but certainly that call is out please send me an email I'll put you on our judge list. Um. I think what we're really excited about um in terms of hosting again. Is you know we're so focused I think on trying to make this a really good experience for the students and and making sure that everything is about the students. Um and celebrating the students who make it here so that's sort of been forefront of our mind. Memphis is a really. Rich diverse. Um important city in a lot of ways and we were really hoping that everybody who comes here really embraces that so the 2 courthouses that we'll be using one is the de army Bailey Courthouse that's the one we've used for orcs for years. Um, and we'll also be using the criminal justice complex but de Army Bailey was like a really significant figure in um, the history of Memphis law civil rights. He was the founder of the national civil rights museum a place that I hope that if you're traveling to Memphis. You take the opportunity to go visit. 55:50.89 Anna And know everybody's focused on competition while they're here, but it's such an incredible museum and we'll we'll continue to provide details about any discounts or or tickets or opportunities. We can have for students to get to explore that space. Um, we're really in love with the courthouses we have. Ah, the beautiful dearm Bailey Courthouse has been featured and basically every John Gersha movie that's ever been filmed to Memphis. So it's very recognizable. Um, and ah, you know obviously ah the the criminal justice building less beautiful but bigger wells. So it's a tradeoff. Um. 56:26.50 bengarmoe P. 56:28.86 Anna The students that compete there and we've locked in our first. Ah 3 final round ah panelists. Um, we're shooting for a really large final round panel. Um, again, our our objectives with our final round panel is to really. Ah, bring in people. We think that we would want to be judging us if we were on a final round panel. So people that represent. Um the community that participates in mock trial. Um, and and all of the different backgrounds. Um that our students that are that are competing here represent. Um as well as. You know a variety of of experiences in terms of practice of law mock trial experience and things like that. Our first 3 judges I'm not going to name them yet because I don't have their permission to name them. But I cannot imagine a student. 57:10.81 Drew 50 57:16.34 Anna Would not be thrilled to have any of these 3 individuals judging them. Um I think they're all great and we are really excited to to have everybody here and really experience what all Memphis has to offer. 57:31.26 bengarmoe Yeah, you certainly got me excited. You also got it you you got ahead of me on asking who the 3 judges are so fair enough I won't ask um, but that just sounds also exciting sounds like it'll be a really great celebration of of your program and of mock trial generally. Ah so last question about nationals and then we will. 57:37.28 Anna Ah, yeah. 57:37.68 Drew Um. 57:48.55 bengarmoe Wrap us up so you mentioned it you guys have been hosting orcs for a long time I'm going to assume you probably have a lot of judges with a lot of really great mock trial experience who've been judging this activity for a long time. So can you give us a sense of I understand every judge is different but what do you think? Rhodes judges look for right? What do you think? the. 57:53.95 Anna To him. 58:08.22 bengarmoe Sort of the defining characteristics of your judging pool are that people can look forward to when they come to nationals this year 58:14.51 Anna I think that's such a great question and I'm glad you asked it because when we for example, when we were at tbc I think Elizabeth was getting asked repeatedly by people in rooms. But what is Memphis judge pool like so I know a lot of people have a lot of questions about it because you know we don't have ah a ton of invitationals in this region. Um, and. 58:24.64 bengarmoe And. 58:32.45 Anna You know Nash judges are very different than Memphis judges. For example, so um, there's a lot of variance I would say um, a lot of our judges here are ah we have a lot of alumni who come and judge. So certainly of people who have a lot of mock trial experience but our litigators here. Um, and we draw a lot from the Memphis bar association. Um, those lawyers are unless they're for a public defender's office or the prosecutor's office. A lot of them are sort of trial specialists but they practice in a lot of different areas. Um and they care a lot about being very personable. Um, and that doesn't mean you know, soft um and it doesn't even necessarily mean likeable. Um, it just means real. So ah, less sort of ah focus on polish performance and sort of that sort of newscastory. Vibe um and a lot more thinking on your feet being really responsive in the moment. Um and and acting like a real lawyer. Um, so you know objection arguments you could get pushed a lot of pushback on. 59:28.13 Drew Um, and here. 59:41.48 Anna Um, and the more adaptable you can demonstrate you are in round I think those are the things that typically resonate with our judges. 59:48.73 bengarmoe Well, that sounds like an ideal way to have a nationals that gets me really excited I'm really excited to you know hopefully have a team there or get to judge there. Whatever it is because it sounds like it's gonna be a fantastic event Anna. Thank you so much for taking time to chat with us today. It's been been a real pleasure I know that. This is a crazy time of year for for you. It's a crazy time of year for everyone in the mock trial community. So we're really grateful obviously best of luck to roads this year best of luck as as you do the planning process for nationals which I'm sure will take more than a couple of hours of your time. But thank you so much for taking a few minutes to chat with us. 01:00:25.30 Anna Thank you, Thank you both for having me. Um and I look forward to seeing you out on the circuit. 01:00:28.43 bengarmoe Yeah, we we're looking forward to the same thing to everyone who's listening. Thank you as always for listening. We have a very exciting guest lined up for our next episode not going to tell you who it is but I will say that if you're on the Patreon and in in the Discord you already know who we've got lined up. For our next episode. So there's sort of my last plug patreon.com/ the mock review drew any last thoughts before we finish up this episode. 01:00:55.12 Drew Nope Just thanks again and it was great chatting with you and I think that we have now kind of completed the the circuit of really super elite programs and I'm just glad that we've gotten to kind of close that loop. 01:01:03.92 bengarmoe Yeah I totally agree and and I'm sure that our listeners learned a lot I know that I certainly learned a lot from this conversation. So thanks everyone for listening. It's a pleasure to be with you until we're in your feed next time. This has been the mock review with Ben and Drew

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