Mercer Law graduate earns 1st runner-up in exclusive national mock trial competition

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Willie and Tessa Sizemore in the library
Willie and Tessa Sizemore

Mercer University School of Law graduate Willie Sizemore was named first runner-up in Baylor Law’s Top Gun National Mock Trial Competition, one of the most prestigious and toughest advocacy competitions in the country, in Waco, Texas, on June 2.

Sizemore, ’24, served as counsel during the competition, and his twin sister, Tessa Sizemore, ’24, served as second chair.

“I am so incredibly proud of Willie, not only because of the results but because of his grit, determination and hard work. Willie is one of the most charismatic advocates I’ve ever had the pleasure to coach,” Assistant Dean of Advocacy Katie Powers said. “His sister, Tessa, was invaluable, and we could not achieved what we did without her.

“This weekend is just one example of why Mercer Law’s advocacy program is truly elite.”

A selfie of three people outdoors in a parking lot. The person on the left is a woman with shoulder-length brown hair, wearing sunglasses on her head and a black top, smiling at the camera. In the middle is another woman with long reddish-brown hair, also smiling, wearing a black top. On the right is a man with short dark hair and a beard, smiling, and wearing a light blue polo shirt. The background includes trees, parked cars, and a clear sky.
From left, Mercer Law Assistant Dean of Advocacy Katie Powers, recent graduate Tessa Sizemore and recent graduate Willie Sizemore.

This was the second consecutive year Mercer was asked to participate in the invitation-only tournament. At the Top Gun National Mock Trial Competition, the single best advocates from the 16 top trial advocacy schools across the nation go head-to-head for the honor of being designated as “Top Gun.”

Counsels receive the case file just 24 hours before the competition rounds begin. This year, the record was 200 pages with 100 exhibits and six witnesses. Competition judges described Willie Sizemore as having a unique style, being easy to listen to, authentic, effective and “having a manner of fighting for his client.”

“It was such an honor to represent Mercer this weekend alongside my sister,” Willie Sizemore said. “Every time I stood up and advocated during the competition, I could feel the love and support of my coaches, my family, the members of our program and the Mercer Law community. That was the best part.”

This competition concludes a productive season for the Mercer Law Advocacy Council. This year, 12 Mercer advocates have earned 15 individual awards. The team won a national championship and placed in 14 advocacy competitions.

Mercer Law Dean Karen J. Sneddon thanked Powers and Director of Advocacy Jeff Bloom for their leadership, guidance and support, as well as the coaches and volunteer judges who have supported and encouraged the students.

“The students who participated in the advocacy program showed dedication, commitment and resilience as they prepared for competitions that showcased the full range of advocacy skills,” Sneddon said.

Tessa Sizemore said the Top Gun tournament was the most challenging and exciting mock trial competition she has experienced.

“Willie rose to the challenge, and I am so proud of him,” she said. “His results are a testament to his hard work, determination and talent. This weekend shows that the Mercer Advocacy Program that Dean Powers has built works. None of this would have been possible without her training and support as well as the support of our family, friends, and fellow Bears back at home.”