CWU News

CWU Student Again Named American Mock Trial Association Outstanding Attorney

Mariah HoganIt’s quite apparent that CWU student Mariah Hogan can be very persuasive.

For the second year in a row, the CWU law and justice major has been recognized as an outstanding attorney at the recent American Mock Trial Association (AMTA) Seattle Regional at the University of Washington Law School.

The AMTA oversees simulated trial competitions involving colleges across the country. The aim is to assist students to develop critical thinking and public speaking skills and hone their knowledge of legal practices and procedures. 

To win the award, Hogan ranked either first or second on each of the four ballots in the competition. She earned 17 out of a maximum of 20 recognition points across the four ballots. Of the more than 100 student attorneys who competed at the regional, she was one of only 10 named to the all-regional team, finishing in a tie for fourth overall.

“I’m proud of myself for winning this award for the second year in a row, though I am tremendously proud of and thankful for my teammates who I have gotten to watch grow and improve each year,” Hogan said.

Hogan, a junior from Kent, served as the CWU Mock Trial Club’s captain and led the team through the successful regional event.

“Participating in Mock Trial for three years now has been such a significant experience for me in terms of discovering my passion, exercising my strengths, and improving on my weaknesses,” Hogan said. “I feel very lucky to be spending my undergraduate years surrounded by other students through this club who encourage me endlessly and believe in me at times when I begin to doubt myself.”

This is a far cry from when Hogan graduated from Kentridge High School in 2017 and was considering not even attending college, as she had no clear idea about what she wanted to do as a career. Her mother, Lisa Rider, encouraged her to enroll for one quarter and then, if Hogan hated it, she would not have to continue. 

“During that first quarter, I took an intro to Law and Justice class with Professor [R. Shaffer] Claridge,” she recalled. “In one of those classes, he advertised having a Mock Trial Club, which I didn’t know Central had. It interested me because, in one of my high school classes, I had done a mock trial. It was something I really enjoyed and thought I would like to do again. So, I went to the next meeting and just stuck around from there.”

Claridge, a licensed attorney, CWU Law and Justice senior lecturer, and coach of the Mock Trial team said Hogan proved to be very deserving of the AMTA regional award both years. 
“She achieved this recognition against formidable competition including teams from Gonzaga, Washington State, Oregon, and Oregon State,” Claridge pointed out. “Mariah is an excellent representative of CWU and has earned the admiration of her teammates, her competitors, and me.”
The Mock Trial Club is just one of many practical-experience opportunities the CWU Law and Justice Department provides students, where they can also earn regional and national recognition, and “have a lot of fun,” said Claridge.   

In another bit of irony, Hogan’s mother is a paralegal for a family law firm.

“I never really recognized that until after I had decided I wanted a career in law,” she admitted. 

Hogan also now is gaining experience working in a family law firm. However, she sees her career going in another direction.

“I’ve always been interested in public defense,” Hogan added. “The way that I view a defense attorney’s job is to defend the Constitution, and the constitutionally guaranteed right to a fair trial. I don’t want to see a defendant’s guilt or innocence determined by his or her socio-economic status. I think it’s important that everybody has someone that believes in utilizing the Constitution to the fullest extent possible in the interest of their client’s defense.”  

Media contact: Robert Lowery, Department of Public Affairs, 509-963-1487,