For the first time, a professor and a third year law student dueled in a civil trial in the University of Idaho Law School Courtroom on Wednesday.
As the Trial Skills course professor, Tim Gresback teaches upper division law students about the fundamentals of presenting a case to a judge or jury. At the end of the course, students begin their final project of competing against one another in a full trial. This year, Gresback was presented with an odd number of students, leaving one student without competition.
“We decided that the only way to let all students do the final project is to have the top student in the class have a trial against me,” Gresback said.
Ranked top in the class for his accomplishments in various classroom exercises throughout the semester, Jared Hanson was chosen to compete against Gresback.
Gresback dubbed the competition a “Litigation Drama” and compared it to a David vs. Goliath battle.
“I think that for a student to have to go against the professor, I find that quite daunting and I’m very proud of Mr. Hanson for accepting the challenge,” Gresback said. “It speaks well for his future in the law.”
The case presented to Gresback and Hanson was a civil case involving allegations of a public bar over-serving a customer. In the case, the over-intoxicated customer injured another customer.
Prior to the trail, the opponents chose sides. Hanson represented the bar and Gresback represented the customer claiming the injury.
Professor John Rumel teaches an evidence course at the law school and was asked to preside over the case as judge.
“It never ceases to amaze me when I judge these competitions, by the work that goes into this on part of the students and how good they are,” Rumel said. “It’s really gratifying to see students grow and kind of become lawyers before they even leave here.”
Law school students and members of the law school community volunteered to play the role of jury members.
Prior to the trail, Rumel was confident in Hanson’s performance and predicted Gresback wouldn’t go easy on him.
“I think Professor Gresback will hit it at the right level, he won’t be condescending, he won’t be too generous, but he won’t be too hard on him either,” Rumel said. “I think he’ll treat him like any other opponent, he won’t be too aggressive, he won’t be too passive.”
This teacher-student competition will continue in future years depending on the number of students in Gresback’s trial class.
Arianna Anchustegui can be reached at email@example.com