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Parrish Nordan of Dallas, Texas took Raising the Bar to a new level earlier this month when he flew from the Lonestar State to judge the South Carolina Bar Middle School Mock Trial Regional Competition.
Admitted in several states, including South Carolina and Texas, Nordan’s passion for instilling an understanding of the law and helping the next generation of lawyers is what drives him to volunteer.
“I was fortunate enough coming from the Black Belt region in Alabama to have that opportunity to learn trial advocacy skills,” Nordan said. “I enjoy the opportunity to come back anyway I can and teach those skills to the students in South Carolina or judge a trial competition. To me it’s not only something I enjoy, but I also think of it as a blessing.”
Nordan was one of more than 120 attorney volunteers who took part in the first in-person regional SC Bar Middle School Mock Trial competition Nov. 5 at courthouses in Columbia, Georgetown and Lexington. This was his second-year volunteering with the mock trial program.
Growing up, Nordan always believed he would go to law school or medical school. Following his parents' footsteps and influence from his high school science teacher, he chose medicine, but was waitlisted. This led Nordan to Cumberland School of Law in Alabama where he started his legal career journey.
“Going to law school in Cumberland, the classes I would take always had some sort of emphasis on trial advocacy,” Nordan recalled. “Once a week you were in class with a federal judge, practicing those skills, mannerisms, and were actually learning and teaching yourself skills that other law schools won’t offer, because they’re not very trial based.”
On top of his busy work schedule, Nordan also serves high school students through the UStrive program, a nonprofit organization that connects high school seniors and college students with a free mentor in their desired field through online mentoring. Nordan started serving as a mentor in 2019.
“People from Alabama and South Carolina have had massive impacts on my life, I hope I can make a similar impact on the students in the South Carolina Mock Trial competitions like my students with UStrive.”
When SC Law Related Education Director Cynthia Cothran saw that a lawyer from Texas volunteered to judge Middle School Mock Trial in November, she reminded Nordan that the program was taking place in South Carolina. Nordan assured Cothran he was aware, and was happy to fly in.
Nordan expressed his love for South Carolina explaining he tries to visit as much as he can.
“I am barred in Alabama, South Carolina, Texas and the District of Columbia, and South Carolina is by far my favorite bar association,” Nordan said. “I enjoy the opportunity to visit and help the next generation of lawyers through programs like Mock Trial.”
Nordan had some suggestions on how attorneys can get involved with the Mock Trial program.
"The best place to start is by reaching out to the SC Bar LRE program,” he said. “Know your why before you get involved and what you enjoy about trial.”
Twelve middle school finalists will compete Dec. 2-3 at the Richland County Magistrate Courthouse in Columbia in the Middle School Mock Trial State Competition Final.