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News Release

Will Podesta and Kent Francis Star in UT Dental School Mock Trial

It’s an LT tradition dating back over 40 years, the annual Dental Jurisprudence Mock Trial at the University of Tennessee College of Dentistry.

Back in the 1970s, young Lt. Col. Al Harvey started teaching a course at the UT Dental School entitled “Dental Jurisprudence.” The one-hour course instructs dental students on all legal aspects of the practice of dentistry with an emphasis on practical pointers to structure and conduct their practices so to avoid healthcare liability lawsuits or put themselves in the strongest position to defend them.

When Lt. Col. Harvey began teaching the course back in the ‘70s, he culminated the course each spring semester with a mock dental malpractice trial in which the dental students play the roles of plaintiff, defendant, and expert witnesses, and young lawyers would serve as counsel.

After leading the course for many years, now General Harvey turned the course over to Bill Haltom who has in recent years been assisted by Justin Joy and Maggie Roney in teaching the course. “Professor” Haltom has continued the tradition of concluding the course with the annual dental malpractice and mock trial.

The tradition continued last Friday with LT Memphis associates Will Podesta and Kent Francis serving as counsel. Kent represented the plaintiff, and Will represented the defendant.

Bill Haltom served as Judge, and the case was tried in front of an impartial jury of six dental students.

The entire mock trial was conducted in a condensed one-hour time period. At the conclusion of closing argument by Kent and Will, Judge Haltom declared a mistrial. He had to do it, because the one-hour class session was over, and there was no time for jury deliberations.

Both Will and Kent did an outstanding job representing their “clients,” and the dental students in attendance thoroughly enjoyed an entertaining mock trial.

We thank Will and Kent for continuing a great LT tradition.