The Illinois State University Mock Trial team advanced to the American Mock Trial Association (AMTA) National Championship Tournament in Washington, D.C.

Illinois State is one of the 48 teams advancing to the national championship event, which will take place from April 12 to 14. Squads from UCLA, the University of Michigan, the University of Chicago, the University of Illinois and University of California-Berkley also have qualified for the 2013 championship tournament.

This is the first time Illinois State has reached the championship stage of the current configuration of the AMTA post-season competition.

In 2009, AMTA started a three-tier national tournament structure. Under this system, between 500 and 600 mock trial teams compete at 24 nationwide regional tournaments. The top 192 teams advance to national semi-final tournaments. The six best performing teams from each of the eight semi-final competitions proceed to the National Championship Tournament.

The Illinois State team placed in the top six teams at the national semi-final tournament held at the Lake County Courthouse from March 8 through 10. At the semi-finals, senior David Mancilla of Lyons was named “outstanding witness.” Mancilla was the only witness award winner who scored a perfect 20. This is the eighth-consecutive tournament at which he received an award.

The Illinois State University Mock Trial Team is led by Assistant Professor Tom McClure, who is director of legal studies at the University, as well as the educator coach for the mock trial team. The team is also coached by Instructional Assistant Professor Scott Kording, a practicing attorney in Bloomington, and Tristan Bullington, a McLean County public defender.

“I am delighted,” said Department Chair Ali Riaz. “I congratulate the students who have made this possible and wish them the best of luck. And I offer my sincere thanks to Tom McClure, Scott Kording and Tristan Bullington for their hard work.”