Two USC law students receive D. Reece Williams III Trial Advocacy Award

COLUMBIA, S.C. – Two students at the University of South Carolina School of Law have been honored with the D. Reece Williams III Trial Advocacy Award after they won the school’s mock trial competition.

The honorees are Clair Hollingsworth and Colin Spangler, both of whom graduated on May 5.

The South Carolina Chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA), a by-invitation organization of which Reece Williams has been a member since 1989, created the advocacy award in 2009.

Reece Williams III himself presented the award, which includes a certificate and a cash prize, to Hollingsworth and Spangler. Both were honored at the School of Law’s annual Awards Day in April.

They received the award for winning the mock trial competition last fall, acting in the final round for the defense in a fictional murder case. Someone had been found dead outside a skating rink, and the rink owner was charged with murder, because it was alleged that the victim owed him money. The law students managed to raise questions regarding evidence that the prosecution could not adequately answer, so their hypothetical “client” was acquitted.

This was good practice for both students, but particularly for Hollingsworth, who hopes to work in criminal defense in Washington, D.C. For the moment, she plans to clerk for a judge in Anderson, S.C.

Spangler concentrated on child advocacy in law school, and is about to go work with a personal injury firm in Conway.

Clair, the daughter of Rodney & Beth Hollingsworth of Anderson, graduated from Lexington High School and received her undergraduate degree from the College of Charleston.

Colin is the son of Mark & Lee Ann Spangler of Winchester, Va. He is a graduate of Sherando High School in Stephens City, Va., and obtained his bachelor’s degree from the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg.

Both honorees expressed gratitude to the experienced attorneys who oversee the mock trial competitions, especially Reece Williams, who, as Spangler put it, has “been doing this for longer than most of us have been alive.”

In 2000, Williams served as president of the national organization. He was South Carolina’s Trial Lawyer of the Year in 2006, and he’s a past president of the Richland County Bar.

Williams often helps teach advocacy skills to other attorneys. He has a long history of commitment to legal education, speaking frequently at workshops and seminars throughout the country. He’s also appeared at dozens of trial demonstrations in more than 30 states, and he’s taught at the National Trial Academy of the National Judicial College. He’s served as a guest speaker at the USC School of Law, which is his alma mater.