By La Monica Everett-Haynes, University Communications May 11, 2010 (Photo credit: Sandra Contreras)
Edward C. Hopkins Jr. has won more UA law school mock trial competitions than any other UA student. He graduates this week and plans to join a law firm later this year.
Edward C. Hopkins Jr. began pursuing a
But that changed at the start of his second year after taking Thomas A. Mauet's evidence course at the James E. Rogers College of Law.
With Mauet's advice,
"A lot of students had competed in mock trials as undergraduates, but I had never done anything like that," said Hopkins, who graduates from the UA this month with his juris doctor degree.
Each year, the law school hosts two competitions: the Jenckes Team Closing Argument Competition, held during the fall, and the Richard Grand Damages Closing Argument Competition during the spring semester. Most students participate in the arguments their last two years of study, competing up to four times.
While no student has ever won all four competitions,
Mauet, the Milton O. Riepe Professor and trial advocacy director for the College of Law, said not only is Hopkins a "hard worker" and a skilled speaker, but he is tenacious in his work.
"Ed has competed in everything he's been eligible to compete in over the last two years, and he has done exceptionally well," Mauet said. "So he's someone who has gotten noticed."
For his work and accomplishments,
"Ed has a speaking style that is very persuasive. He just draws you in," Mauet said. "He has the knack for public speaking and a way of turning a phrase that makes simple ideas very memorable. That's a gift good public speakers have."
For instance, during this spring's Richard Grand Damages Competition,
"I tried to feel her emotions, to empathize with her and focused on how to make the average juror feel that emotion," said Hopkins, who specializes in trial advocacy and business law.
As part of nearly 25 hours of preparation,
"What I try to do is understand the psychology of characters," he said. "You don't have to know the people, but you can understand the prototype. This is what being human is all about – stories."
After winning the Jenckes Cup in a 2008 competition against
"In my opinion, it is the most difficult form of legal practice because it requires not only knowledge of the law, but a practical wisdom and an intuition for kairos,"
“The best trial lawyers can sense the kairos and will say the right thing, in the right way, at the right time," he added.
Prior to beginning his graduate studies in law,
After his years of service, Hopkins went on to complete post-baccalaureate coursework in linguistics and philosophy in 2003 through 2005 at the UA – a decision Hopkins said he'd made because he had opted to focus on engineering, leadership and military science over the humanities as an undergraduate.
As a law student, he has been involved with the Arizona Justice Project, is a past-president of the Black Law Students Association and also served last year as president of the Oral Advocacy Organization. He also was a member of the Business/Law Exchange, an Eller College of Management program that enables law students to act as mock legal counsel for entrepreneurship students.
"I think he has found something he loves to do and something that he is very good at," Mauet said. "And I think that has motivated him at law school. He knows what he wants to do and he's going out getting it done."