Mock Trial Coaches
All team members are coached by experienced trial lawyers who were themselves members of the Trial team when they attended the law school.
Our coaches have tried a huge array of civil and criminal cases. They won numerous competitions as team members and are now dedicated to helping our current team members develop into equally persuasive trial lawyers who will win trophies in competition and real cases in practice.
Our current staff of coaches
Maris Wilson — Deputy District Attorney
"The Mock Trial Program at McGeorge was pivotal in my development as a trial attorney. The quality of the coaching and instruction was excellent, and in no small measure due to the vast trial experience of everyone involved – both criminal and civil. The bar was set high with respect to expectations and the level of competition. In fact, many of my teammates and opponents in Mock Trial were just as good or better than many of the opponents I face today. While Mock Trial demands time, effort, and dedication, the rewards are invaluable if you want to become a trial attorney. In Mock Trial I learned how to read, analyze, and fully prepare a case for trial. These are the same skills I use in real life every day at the District Attorney’s Office. On a more personal level, the Mock Trial coaches and instructors truly cared about developing the students’ confidence, knowledge, and skills…it wasn’t just about winning. Participating in Mock Trial did more for me in pursuing my dream of becoming a trial attorney than perhaps anything else."
Leland Washington — Deputy District Attorney
"When I joined the DA’s office in 2001, my employers told me mock trial experience was a major factor in me being hired. It was not until my first trial I realized why. The first time I stepped in a courtroom to do a jury trial was just 3 weeks after passing the bar. Despite the fact, this was my first jury trial I felt like I was ready. There was a feeling I had that I had done this before, because I had. Mock trial prepared me for trial; from little things from knowing where to sit at counsel table, prepare an expert witness, or deliver a powerful closing argument I had the knowledge and confidence I could be successful. While many of my peers had public speaking backgrounds, speech and debate, I was the only one who had mock trial and the only one who knew from “day one” how to win a jury trial. The mock trial experience gave me the confidence and the knowledge that allowed me to shine as a trial attorney."
Alan Donato — The Law Office of Alan J. Donato
"The McGeorge Mock Trial program was by far the highlight of my law school experience. It helped me discover what I wanted to do with my professional career and enabled me to hit the ground running upon graduation. When I entered my profession as a trial lawyer, I found that the training I received in the mock trial program gave me a leg up on many other lawyers (many of whom had been in practice for far longer than I had). I can say without equivocations that I would not be the lawyer I am today without the McGeorge Mock Trial program."
Thien Ho — Deputy District Attorney, Sacramento County
"The Trial Advocacy Program at McGeorge is the best in the nation. I am the prosecutor and trial lawyer that I am today, because of the foundation that was poured when I was but a young Trial Ad student at McGeorge. The Trial Ad program at McGeorge will provide you with the necessary tools to survive and thrive in any legal field - whether it’s handling a deposition in a multi-million dollar product’s liability case or whether its cross examining a defendant accused of raping a 5 year old child. Trial Ad will actually teach you skills that will help you find a job upon graduation and succeed at it."
Jeff Schaff — Opening his own firm
"Mock trial has given me the confidence to take on the challenge of starting my own firm and the resources to be successful. My time on the team allowed me to develop my own courtroom style and feel comfortable in the courtroom no matter what the circumstance. Mock Trial also introduced me to great friends, valuable connections, and strong mentors, without which I would not be same attorney today."
Rashaan Jones — Deputy District Attorney
"Without question, the mock trial program provided me the skills and confidence to successfully try cases. In less than three years, I have tried over 40 jury trials as a prosecutor. Also, understanding evidence became second nature after my first year in the program. It became so second nature that I did not need to study evidence for the bar exam. I am at this level in my career solely because of the mock trial program."
Jacob D. Flesher — Flesher Broomand LLP
"While I was in law school, I viewed the trial team as an opportunity to compete while learning the basics of how to try a case. Ten years later, I believe the relationships I developed through my time participating and coaching have helped define and enrich my legal career. For example, my trial team coach ultimately became my business partner and is still my mentor and I routinely pick up the phone to call former team members if I have issues ranging from a case referral to questions about hiring new lawyers."
Jason Schaff — Klinedinst PC
"Not only did I get a great job as a direct result of my mock trial experience, but everyday I call on the skills I learned while a member of McGeorge's trial competition team. Those skills continue to pay dividends, whether through my confidence in arguing complex motions to the court or my ability to extract important evidence from witnesses during depositions. It's a practical experience, that you learn before graduating law school and without the risk of losing millions of dollars for your clients, that makes the McGeorge mock trial program an open door to a successful career."
Carrie Bonnington — Senior Associate, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP
"The McGeorge Mock Trial Team provides law students with the skills to "practice law." Law school should not be limited to learning and memorizing substantive and procedural laws. Law students need to learn to think on their feet, develop case theories, persuasively argue their client's position and communicate effectively with clients, judges and opposing counsel. Mock Trial teaches these practical skills. Graduating law school with two years of mock trial experience allowed me to make court appearances, conduct live discovery and participate in settlement discussions much sooner than many of my peers. It was a valuable experience that I highly recommend to all students."
Keith Hill — Deputy District Attorney
"I can’t imagine a better way to have prepared myself as a prosecutor than to have participated on the McGeorge Trial Team. The skills and confidence it gave me when I entered the courtroom were invaluable. Even today, 15 years later, I look back on my time as a team member as the point that a solid foundation was formed on which I have based my entire career."