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Mock Trial Camp Argues Case for SAU

August 2012


Like a football coach cultivating relationships with future quarterbacks and defensive tackles, Henry Marquard hoped 19 high school mock trial enthusiasts saw something to bring them back to campus following the third annual St. Ambrose Mock Trial Camp on Aug. 9.

Also on hand for the daylong camp were five high school teachers and three graduated members of the blossoming SAU Mock Trial program.

Each of the latter—Sarah Gorham '10, Brea Webber '10 and Meena Brandt '12—has gone on to law school. But Marquard, a Muscatine, Iowa, attorney readying for his sixth season as the St. Ambrose mock trial coach, said the mock trial experience isn't geared solely to developing future jurists.

"From recent teams, we have had one student become a high school teacher, two go into business, and one is a congressional aide," he said. "One guy, who went into sales, said mock trial was the best preparation he had to be a salesman.

"As a salesman, you are selling a story, right? What do lawyers do? A lawyer sells a story."

An enthusiastic salesman for the St. Ambrose experience, Marquard was hopeful that the daylong mock trial camp at the Rogalski Center might produce a few future Bees.

"I tell these young people, ‘If you enjoy our campus, give me a call next year when you're a senior and we'll talk,'" he said.

The mock trial camps have grown in number each of the three years, following the rise of a St. Ambrose mock trial program that is growing in stature.

Last year's team narrowly missed becoming the school's second to advance to the American Mock Trial Association national tournament, falling just three judging points shy at the regional tournament.

The squad also finished 11th out of 84 teams at a prestigious competition hosted by Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa. There, teams from DePaul, Northwestern and the defending national champions from Loyola University in Chicago finished behind St. Ambrose.

That was one of two events where the SAU mock trial team ran into large schools with established programs. "St. Ambrose is a good place to come if you want to compete against the best," Marquard said.

Former mock trial coach Joseph Hebert, PhD, associate professor and chair of the St. Ambrose Political Science and Leadership Department, called Marquard is an effective advocate for both St. Ambrose and the mock trial concept.

"He is very competitive," Hebert said. "He is an excellent coach and he really motivates the students."

Still, Hebert stressed, learning tops winning when it comes to the mock trial team, which is part of the St. Ambrose pre-law program. He said between 10 and 12 former team members have gone on to become attorneys.

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