APPLETON, WIS. — Two members of Lawrence University’s mock trial team made impressive debuts at a recent tournament in Milwaukee.
Sophomores Caitlin Fish and Karl Hailperin, neither of whom had any previous college mock trial experience, both earned outstanding witness awards March 1 for their performance at the 23-team American Mock Trial Association regional tournament hosted by Marquette University.
Fish and Hailperin were two of just 12 students recognized as outstanding witnesses from among nearly 100 students who participated in the tournament as witnesses. Fish portrayed defense witness Jan Patel, a star-crazed janitor, while Hailperin played Mickey McQuiggan, a crime scene investigator for the plaintiff.
Fish was ranked the top witness by 19 of 20 judges, placing her among the top four witnesses at the tournament. Hailperin earned top rankings from 17 of 20 judges.
The tournament “trial” was based on a libel lawsuit in which gubernatorial candidate Drew Walton sued the Blitz News Network (BNN) for reporting that Walton shot Lane Hamilton, a Midlands University Professor. Walton maintained that Hamilton committed suicide. Walton had to prove BNN published a false and defamatory statement of fact that damaged him, acting with reckless disregard of the truth in the process.
A total of 13 Lawrence students — 11 of whom had no previous mock trial experience — competed on two teams in the tournament, which included teams from the University of Chicago, Hamline University, Lake Forest College, the University of Minnesota and Northwestern University, among others.
Amy Risseeuw, an attorney with the Appleton law firm Peterson, Berk & Cross, is the coach of Lawrence’s mock trial team, while Assistant Professor of Government Steve Wulf serves as the team’s faculty advisor.
“I was very proud of the accomplishments of both of Lawrence’s teams,” said Risseeuw. “I was especially pleased with the work of Karl and Caitlin. Not only did they have an excellent command of their materials, they presented full-bodied witnesses with unique personalities. Their commitment to their characters allowed them to rise above the other competitors.”