Adams and Reese presented a check of $5,000 to Spain Park High School Law Academy to assist the school’s mock trial team in financing their travels to the National High School Mock Trial Championship, to be held this May in Indianapolis.
The $5,000 donation by Adams and Reese will cover more than half of the projected national competition expenses of $9,000, said Libby Day, director of the school's law academy, and enable them to book the airfare and hotel rooms.
“This is the single, largest donation we have ever received, and we are grateful to Adams and Reese for the generous contribution,” Day said. “Our trips are primarily funded by our students and fundraisers that we have year-round, so this contribution makes a huge difference of lowering our students’ costs by hundreds of dollars.”
Adams and Reese Partner Stephen Walsh, in the firm’s Birmingham office, encouraged the law firm to assist the mock trial team financially when he heard of the story back in October 2012 of the Spain Park mock trial team being stuck in New York City following the Empire Mock Trial Competition in Brooklyn, due to Hurricane Sandy, and the extended stay depleting much of the law academy’s budget.
The Spain Park mock trial team returned home with just one week to prepare for the state tournament in Montgomery, and the team selected to represent Spain Park at the national competition was picked “Best Overall Team” at the state competition, based on sportsmanship, professionalism, and competitive standing.
“We saw the need to assist a local high school that won the state mock trial competition under some very difficult circumstances, and we were so impressed by these students and teachers that we wanted to help provide some of the financial support they needed to represent our state and our community at the national level,” said Walsh. “Adams and Reese is constantly looking for ways to give back to our community, and we are very thankful for the opportunity to assist Spain Park and these exceptional students in this way.”
Adams and Reese is also working with the mock trial team to set up a date to hold a practice mock trial session to further prepare them for the National Tournament.
Adams and Reese Partner Steve Rowe, who is the firm’s senior trial lawyer in the Birmingham office, said that mock trial competitions are a great way for students to acquire skills and experiences that will serve them well throughout their careers.
“Mock trial competitions, such as these, bring together the best and brightest, and Spain Park’s trial team has demonstrated that its team members and teachers are exceptionally talented and able to excel at the highest levels,” Rowe said.
The mock trial team representing Spain Park High School at the national competition consists of graduating seniors Oliver Barreau, Abby Brunner, Scout Johnson, Jordan McDonald, Micah Shoemaker, Bryant Williams, and Read Mills, and junior Jacob Kimes.
“This team embodies the ideals of the Law Academy; some students have lots of mock trial experience, some very little,” said Craig Thompson, who coaches the mock trial team, along with Day. “They represent and embody the qualities of access, opportunity, teamwork, and Integrity. They honor all those who made this possible and set a standard of excellence that will define the future of the program.”
Day said going to the national competition is an incredible opportunity for the Spain Park students.
“This is an amazing experience for them; it’s an honor to represent the state of Alabama at the national competition, and to see our students put on a suit, deliver a persuasive argument and practice for what they will be doing in their legal career against the top schools from across the nation. It is a very rewarding experience,” Day said.
Adams and Reese is a multidisciplinary law firm with offices strategically located throughout the southern United States and Washington, DC. American Lawyer includes Adams and Reese on its distinguished list of the nation's top law firms - "The Am Law 200.” The National Law Journal also includes the firm on the "NLJ 250" list of the nation's largest law firms.