Future Attorneys Take to the Courtroom

Classrooms became courtrooms this past weekend as Penn State hosted the 3rd Annual Happy Valley Invitational. The HVI is an multi-round intercollegiate mock trial competition that features over 18 regional teams. Included among these are two Penn State teams, Yale University, Georgetown University and Cornell University to name a few.

While the case is hypothetical, arguments from mock trial team members must be convincing, sound and realistic. In a mock trial case, students must be part performer and part legal expert. They assume roles of attorneys and witnesses and argue a case under realistic circumstances.

Teams are evaluated based on how well they made their argument, presentation of evidence, and witness testimony.

A press release about the event stated that the case this year was “a product liability case entitled Andy Davis v. HappyLand Toy Company.” The case involved Davis’ two year old son, Joey, who swallowed beads manufactured by HappyLand that were allegedly laced with a toxic chemical.

Following a match between Penn State and Syracuse University early Saturday, volunteer judge and Drexel University coach Chris Miller was impressed with the students’ professionalism:

“[Both teams] objected well and there was no ridiculous information [presented]. School teams usually play dirty. Trial management and decorum was very professional,” Miller said.

Miller is a Defense Attorney employed by Brennan Law of Philadelphia, and is a member of the Defender Association of Philadelphia.

Of five teams, Penn State finished 2nd with a competition record of 5-2-1. Georgetown University finished 1st with a record of 6-1-1.

Upon conclusion of tournament rounds Sunday, closing ceremonies were held in the Berg Auditorium. As teams congregated, Penn State’s teams were recognized with several awards. The entire group won the Spirit of Anta award, while individual awards for Outstanding Attorney & Outstanding Witness went to Brenna Thorpe and Harrison Rogers.

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Michael Verbickas

I'm a Junior majoring in Print Journalism and English. I consider myself passionate about history, sports, politics, crossword puzzles and short stories.

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