Student and Academic Life

College of Law Trial Team Finishes in Final Four at National Competition

National Trial Competition tea
(Left to right): Madeline Moss, Matthew Boggs, Caleb Taylor, Professor Allison Connelly and Vince Taormina.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 17, 2018) — Two students on the University of Kentucky College of Law Trial Team finished as one of the top four teams in the nation at the National Trial Competition (NTC) in Austin, Texas.

The NTC was established in 1975 to encourage and strengthen students' advocacy skills through quality competition and valuable interaction with members of the bench and bar. The program is co-sponsored by the American College of Trial Lawyers and is designed to expose law students to the nature of trial practice and to serve as a supplement to their education.

The Texas Young Lawyers Association (TYLA) presents the annual competition, which attracts teams from more than 140 law schools and involves more than 1,000 law students each year. The goal is to provide a meaningful contribution to the development of future trial lawyers. The competition is the most prestigious law school trial competition in the nation.

Third-year student Caleb Taylor and second-year student Matt Boggs, along with teammates Maddie Moss and Vince Taormina, competed against 22 teams at regionals held in Knoxville, Tennessee. Taylor and Boggs clenched first place. Then, the team received a new trial problem. They had less than five weeks to prepare both sides of the case. The top 30 teams competed at nationals where Taylor and Boggs continued to excel.

The students practiced four times a week, including Saturdays and Sundays, and even prepared over Spring Break. Their fellow teammates, Moss and Taormina, were their opponents at every practice and helped them reach the high level of advocacy and evidence law that led them to success. The team was coached by Professor Allison Connelly.

“The work and commitment of many great student advocates brought us to this point. Indeed, all our student advocates have sacrificed a great deal to put our law school in the national spotlight, and they’ve succeeded," Connelly said. “Not only did Caleb and Matt excel on a national stage, they epitomize the excellence of the college’s trial program; a program built on student dedication, sacrifice and persistence. However, I’m even more proud of the way the team of Caleb, Matt, Maddie and Vince, represented our law school. They won and lost with great integrity, professionalism and honor. This foursome represents the ideal every lawyer strives to achieve.”

In a federal courtroom, in front judges and attorneys, compelling arguments would secure Taylor and Boggs a spot in the final four. This is only the second time in 22 years a UK team has reached this level of success in the competition. In addition, Taylor and Boggs will each receive $750 from the Kansas City, Missouri, law firm of Polsinelli PC.

"I cannot imagine a better way to wrap up my academic career. Mock Trial has always been a huge part of my education. I have a great coach and teammate to thank for our exceptional performance," Taylor said.

“Caleb and I had a great time competing among some of the best student advocates in the country. We were proud to represent the university and the College of Law on a national stage, and to see all the hours of hard work pay off. We had incredible support behind us in our other teammates, Madeline Moss and Vince Taormina, and our unparalleled coach, Professor Connelly," Boggs said.

Since 1998, UK Law's trial teams have achieved a national reputation. In 22 years, they have won the American College regional competition 11 times and have been named five times as one of the top 16 trial teams in the country by the National Institute of Trial Advocacy. 

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