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Making It to the Top Four

BC Law team advanced to the National Mock Trial Competition, earning the school its highest finish in forty years.

Jordan McGuffee, left, and Samantha Cupolo did BC Law proud at the National Mock Trial Competition. 

A BC Law mock trial team placed among the top four teams in the country in the National Mock Trial Competition in Houston Texas, presented by the Texas Young Lawyers Association earlier this month. Samantha Cupolo ’24 and Jordan McGuffee ’24 lost a very close round to the eventual winners from the UCLA School of Law. This is the first time in over two decades that a BC Law team advanced to the nationals—and the highest finish for the school since 1983.

“It is no accident that Sam and Jordan accomplished what no other BC Law team has accomplished in forty-one years,” said Steve Van Dyke ’08, one of the two Mock Trial Team coaches and a Middlesex County public defender. “They were ready because they had engaged in endless brainstorming sessions and scrimmages with other schools. They were often the first to arrive at the courthouse, and it was not unusual to see them fast at work during breaks in the trial working through a direct or closing together in a hallway.”

“Even more impressive than their performance within the rounds is everything else that they bring to the mock trial community,” added Julie Buszuwski, who coached the team with Van Dyke and is also a Middlesex County public defender. “They regularly receive compliments from judges, fellow coaches, and witnesses about their collegiality and professionalism. Their love for what they are doing shows through not just in their advocacy but also in the relationships they forge with the other participants. They are, in short, the people you want on your side, and the people with whom you would want to work.”

More than 300 teams from law schools across the country participate in the Mock Trial regional competitions held in January and February each year. Both of this year’s BC Law teams reached the final round of the regional competition, where they faced teams from Harvard Law. Caleb Brady ’25 and Noah DeRossi ’25 were narrowly defeated, while Cupolo and McGuffee advanced. Brady and DeRossi were invaluable in helping their fellow students at the nationals, assisting in the preparations and accompanying Cupolo and McGuffee to Texas, where they served as witnesses in the competition.

The two coaches were effusive in their praise for both teams, noting that they responded quickly to changes in the case problem and expertly handled progressively more difficult witnesses in later rounds, while mastering the applicable law to the point they could recite it on their feet in the middle of a direct or cross exam. They crafted persuasive case theories from both sides of the complex case, a criminal case involving an allegation of homicide, Van Dyke said.

“The educational experience that mock trial provides to future litigators is unparalleled, but I am most appreciative of the community it has given me.”

Jordan McGuffee ’24

“What made Jordan and me excel was that we were able to learn from everyone around us, and not just repeat what was told to us but actually make it our own,” said Cupolo. “I am especially thankful to our coaches who didn’t just teach us how to pretend to be a lawyer but how to truly advocate like one—and be authentic while doing it.”

McGuffee also thanked her coaches for their hard work and support. “The opportunity to prove ourselves at a national level is one I am truly grateful for, and I appreciate all those who helped us along the way,” she said. “The educational experience that mock trial provides to future litigators is unparalleled, but I am most appreciative of the community it has given me. The network of fantastic attorneys who are willing to give you their valuable free time is humbling.”

With one more year in school, Brady and DeRossi will head up next year’s competition. “Our own team’s hard work and dedication paid off as we advanced to the regional finals,” said Brady. “I am incredibly proud of our accomplishments and the invaluable experience gained throughout the competition—and particularly inspired by the outstanding performances of Sam and Jordan at nationals. Their success has further fueled my passion and I am excited to follow in their footsteps and continue the success of the Trial Team next year.”

“Every day I sat in awe of the talent and expertise of my three outstanding teammates and two coaches,” added DeRossi. “A moment didn’t go by that I didn’t learn something. Practicing and competing among some of the best current and future trial attorneys is an honor I won’t soon forget.”