Frequently Asked Questions
What is mock trial?
Mock trial is a competitive team in which undergrad students competing in a model court case. Students play the roles of witnesses and attorneys on both sides of the case. At competitions, they are assigned a side and must compete against another university in how well they present said case. The case is created and administered by the American Mock Trial Association (AMTA)- the association responsible for governing all other undergraduate mock trial programs. Mock trial is a great way for students interested in public speaking, acting and law to expand upon their talents and to get practical court experience.
Can I join even if I’m not interested in law?
Of course! Though it greatly helps those interested, mock trial develops analytical, communication, and performance skills that can be helpful in tons of other fields and activities beyond the legal ones.
Do I have to be a specific major to join?
Absolutely not! We accept and have students from tons of different majors- from history to political science to nursing and even microbiology!
When are tryouts?
Tryouts usually are held in late September each year. See our ‘Join’ page for more information on the tryout process or come check us out at Get On Board Day.
What if I have no prior Mock Trial experience?
No problem! We will teach you all that you need to know and then some! Some of our most successful members joined the program with no previous Mock Trial experience (including many members of our current executive board).
How many teams are there?
We have three fall teams with ten members each, all competing in whatever fall invitational we attend that semester. From that pool, we then “stack” into two competition teams (Crimson and White) and one practice team (Houndstooth) for the spring semester.
When do we practice?
Once teams have been assigned, each captain will determine what time works best for his/her team. Each team meets at least once a week collectively, but we encourage you to work on your own or with your witness/attorney outside of practice. During second semester, the whole organization will practice during the mock trial class (PSC 321/CJ 490) as well as at their own discretion in preparation for the upcoming levels of competition.
Can I get course credit?
Yes, you can! Though we practice all year, students can choose to enroll in the PSC 321/CJ 490 in the spring semester. Upon completion, you will receive a letter grade and three credit hours.
Do I have to take the class to participate?
Nope. You can be a part of the program without taking the class but we will be practicing during that time, so we strongly encourage members to keep that class time open.
How does competition work?
The team members are assigned roles of attorney, witness or both. They must then develop case theories for both the plaintiff/prosecution and the defense complete with opening statements, closing arguments, direct and cross examinations. The team then squares off with another team at a competition in which both sides attempt to gain the most points from the presiding judges. The team with the most points wins that judge’s ballot. A tournament consists of four rounds of competition with the victors being the team with the most ballots.
When are competitions?
The official AMTA competition season kicks-off each February and runs through early April. In addition to the official AMTA rounds, we also attend a variety of different invitationals which span late fall and spring semesters.
How many AMTA competitions are there?
The number of competitions depends on our performance. Our competition teams will compete at Regionals. The teams who place at a certain rank will advance to ORCs (Opening Round Championships). The teams who rise to the top at ORCs move onto Nationals.