Legal Assistant Studies students from UTC joined paralegal studies students from Chattanooga State Technical Community College in a mock trial competition at the Hamilton County Courthouse. Circuit Court Judge W. Neil Thomas III presided over the competition.
Pictured l-r: Tracy Kirk, Monica Moore, Rachel Brown
and Jared Hamilton. Another team member (not at
the table, but directly behind Tracy) is LaQuandra
Leveritt.This unique opportunity for students was sponsored by The Southeastern Chapter of the Tennessee Paralegal Association (TPA).
“By sponsoring the mock trial, TPA establishes a connection with future paralegals and showcases its commitment to excellence in the local paralegal industry,” said Melissa Ledbetter, chapter president.
Karen McGuffee, Associate Professor and Legal Assistant Studies Coordinator, underscored the significance of a mock trial as a valuable learning experience. As an attorney and a professor, she strongly endorsed the project.
“A mock trial competition is intense, and the expectation is that students are prepared when they enter the courtroom,” says McGuffee. “The experience provides a venue through which paralegal students sharpen their critical thinking and debate skills, develop their presentation talents, and learn courtroom rules and protocol. Furthermore, students gain a self-confidence and poise that is essential to their success in the legal community.”
Each competing team consisted of five students who assumed the roles of lawyers and litigants. Members of the Tennessee Paralegal Association acted as the jury. Judge Thomas offered the students critiques on their presentation techniques.
For more information about the paralegal studies at UTC, please email Karen McGuffee at
Karen-McGuffee@utc.edu or call 423/425-2137.
Dr. David Ross in the witness chair, Judge Thomas, and UTC student Jared Hamilton