Santa Barbara’s First Intercollegiate Mock Trial Tournament

Benefit for Santa Barbara County High School Mock Trial

Proceeds will benefit the Santa Barbara County high school mock trial champion’s trip to the state tournament.

Danielle De Smeth, Esq. and the UC Irvine Mock Trial Program are hosting Santa Barbara’s very first college mock trial invitational tournament. Students from universities including UC Berkeley, UCLA, UCSB and Cal Poly SLO will try a DUI Murder case, State v. Dawson, while vying for top rank by local attorneys and judges. High school students will serve as jurors, evaluating and learning from college-level legal argument and oral advocacy.

What: The Inaugural Paradise Invitational, co-hosted by Danielle De Smeth, Esq. and the UC Irvine Mock Trial Program, is a college mock trial tournament. Students and representatives from UC Berkeley, UCLA, UCSB, UCSD, UC Irvine, Claremont McKenna, Cal Poly SLO, Fresno State and Arizona will compete in the event. Local attorneys, judges, and high school students will also participate as judges, scorers, jurors. Santa Barbara Superior Court Judge Donna Geck will preside over the top round Sunday afternoon.

Where: Santa Barbara Courthouse, 1100 Anacapa Street, Santa Barbara

When: Saturday, January 21 and Sunday, January 22

  • Round 1: Sat, Jan 21, 8:45-12:30
  • Round 2: Sat, Jan 21, 1:15-5:00
  • Round 3: Sun, Jan 22, 8:15-12:00
  • Round 4: Sun, Jan 22, 12:45-4:30

“As a mock trial competitor in high school, college and law school, I’ve been the beneficiary of the life skills mock trial teaches,” said Danielle De Smeth, Attorney, Greben & Associates. “As a coach, I enjoy helping students develop the critical thinking, communication, and confidence it takes to present a jury trial. Hosting an invitational at home in Santa Barbara allows our local high school students to learn from watching seasoned college competitors.”

“I wanted to do something to help our local mock trial teams get some great experience, with the added bonus of raising funds to help send the county champion to the state tournament,” added De Smeth.

College students will go on to compete in regional and national competition under the auspices of the American Mock Trial Association (“AMTA”). AMTA board member and head coach at UC Irvine, Justin Bernstein, said of the Paradise Invitational, “This is the first college invitational in the country to have such a broad educational focus, involving high school students as both ‘juror’ evaluators and beneficiaries of donations from community sponsors.”

The top-five teams and highest ranked individual competitors will be honored in Closing Ceremonies Sunday evening in the Mural Room of the Historic Santa Barbara Courthouse.

The Paradise Invitational is still seeking additional volunteer attorneys to score the rounds. No preparation or experience is necessary–volunteers will receive a brief presentation on the case before the round begins. Volunteers can sign-up to judge as many rounds as they like.

Sponsorship opportunities are still available, with opportunities for recognition in promotional materials and at the event. The co-hosts also seeking food and beverage donations (breakfast and lunch) for volunteer attorneys and judges who will preside over the trials.

Tournament sponsors include Hager & Dowling, the Law Office of Seana B. Thomas, Joe Abkin, Esq., Eric Burrows, the Eagle Inn, the Best Western Pepper Tree Inn, Killer B’s BBQ, Carlitos Cafe and Blueprint LSAT Preparation.

The Paradise Invitational is a competitive mock trial tournament. Students from universities including UC Berkeley, UCLA, UCSB, UCSD, UC Irvine, Claremont McKenna, Cal Poly SLO, Fresno State and Arizona will try a DUI Murder case, State v. Dawson, while vying for top rank by local attorneys and judges. High school students will serve as jurors, evaluating and learning from college-level legal argument and oral advocacy.

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