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LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 1, 2019) The University of Kentucky College of Law's National Trial Team will advance to the prestigious National Trials Competition (NTC) on March 27, in San Antonio, Texas.

Earlier this month, Matthew Boggs and Madeline Moss were crowned regional champions — making them the 13th team in UK Law history to have claimed the title. They competed against 19 schools from Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama and Mississippi.

Boggs and Moss were supported by fellow teammates, John Paul Hicks and Amy Stutler, who also competed with strong effort despite not advancing to nationals. Hicks and Stutler are credited with helping Boggs and Moss reach the highest level of advocacy and evidence law that led them to success.

“Our teammates were strong opponents and competitors. They brought out the best in us. Without their knowledge and skill, we would not have been as successful," Moss said.

Moss also credits her experience from last year for her continued success. "I felt such gratitude for the instruction and opportunities I had been given this past year that allowed me to improve as a litigator in order to win the region this year," she said.

During regionals, Boggs and Moss competed in five trials and were required to present on both sides of the cases before a panel of three practicing lawyers and judges. Compelling arguments helped them clench first place in all five trials. Additionally, they won 14 of the 15 total judge ballots.

"Winning the regional competition made all the hours spent practicing worth it," Boggs continued. "The odds of advancing are low considering a field of 20 teams, but for our team to win for the second year in a row is something that we’re all proud of."

“UK Law strives to provide a comprehensive legal education experience that supports students to rise to their personal best,” Dean David A. Brennen said. “These students rose to the occasion and represented UK Law very well with this outstanding performance.”

Now, the team is preparing for the National Trial Competition, which 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 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 team is coached by Professor Allison Connelly, who believes mock trial competitions prepare students for future endeavors. “A trial competition involves a fake set of facts, with a fake client, fake judge and fake jury," she continued. "My goal is to see that these students are the best advocates in the courtroom where they are dealing with a real set of facts, a real client and a real judge and jury. If that happens, they are true champions." 

Since 1998, UK Law's trial teams have achieved a national reputation. In 23 years, they have won the American College regional competition 13 times. UK’s teams have reached the top eight teams in the nation seven times, including finishing second in the nation in 2009 and third in the nation last year. They have also been named five times as one of the top 16 trial teams in the country by the National Institute of Trial Advocacy.