DePaul University College of Law's Black Law Students Association
(BLSA) mock trial team members are the 2016 national champions of the NBLSA Thurgood Marshall Mock Trial Competition.
Team members Stacey Berdejo, Brittney Cato, Fadya Salem and Nicholas Simpson were coached to victory by alumni Chalet Braziel (JD '09) and Theo Thomas (JD '09). The students met each Saturday and Sunday during the academic year, practicing up to six hours a day in order to prepare themselves for the competition.
“As a dean, I could not be prouder of DePaul Law and the accomplishments of these students with the great mentorship of their coaches,” said Dean Rosato Perea. “They show the skills, the grit, the hard work and the devotion of our alumni that are the best of DePaul.”
Stacey Berdejo said that coaching played a large role in the preparation process. “Our coaches are passionate and dedicated. They're invested not only in the team and in our competition but also in us, as individuals. Our coaches are our professors, our mentors, our supporters. I think the most essential part of our preparation was that we were prepared by Chalet and Theo.”
Nicholas Simpson said he and the team set their sights on the national championship after placing second during the March 2013-2014 academic year—missing first place by .7 of a point.
“Through our hard work, dedication and exceptional coaching, I can now say that our goals have been fulfilled. This is only the beginning of what this program and our school can accomplish and I am happy to say that I will forever be linked to a team of such great people, great coaches and even better friends. We are proud to be the 2016 national champions.”