Frequently Asked Questions
Want to join the team but looking for more info? Keep reading!
What does it mean to be a competitor on a mock trial team?
You'll learn the ins and outs of a legal case, complete with witness statements, court exhibits, motions, and case law. We'll teach you how to act, how to argue objections, how to speak with confidence, and how to persuasively make your case before a panel of judges at each of the 5-7 tournaments we attend every year.
What's the time commitment?
Students on the team participate as attorneys, witnesses, or both, and your roles may change over the course of the year depending on your interests and the needs of the team. You can expect this extracurricular activity to be a significant time obligation, but having different role options with varying levels of work means we can work with you to make sure mock trial fits into your busy schedule. Generally, we have 2 squads consisting of 6-10 people, and each squad practices twice a week for approximately two hours each practice. Practice times are set with your schedule in mind, so we can work around night classes or jobs. More practices will be expected in the week leading up to a tournament weekend. You can expect to travel 3-4 times each semester; you will be excused from any Friday classes you are required to miss due to our travel. Mock trial is a year-long activity, so if you try out please be prepared to participate in both the fall and spring semesters. (Please note that for the 2020-21 season, travel will be suspended and our tournaments will be virtual!)
What are some of the perks of competing?
When public health conditions allow, mock trial takes you to some awesome places throughout the year. In 2017, the team traveled to Los Angeles for the National Championship Tournament. Other tournament destinations include Minneapolis, Atlanta, Pensacola, Raleigh, and Cincinnati. Hotel and travel expenses are covered by the program. You'll also pick up public speaking and presentation skills that are invaluable, no matter what your future career might be. For those of you interested in law school, joining the team means you'll have lots of interaction with pre-law upperclassmen, practicing attorneys, and judges to help you gain more exposure to the legal world. (But remember, being pre-law is not a requirement, and we have plenty of other majors and disciplines represented on the team.) In addition, because the university recognizes how hard we work, participating in mock trial can make you eligible for one academic credit hour each semester. Talk to us about this if you're interested in learning more. Finally, joining mock trial means you're joining a family - we learn together, travel together, work together, and spend way too much time together. Seriously, a lot of us meet our best friends by joining this team.
I've never done mock trial before. Is that a problem?
Nope, not a problem. While some of our competitors competed in mock trial or other public speaking competitions in high school, prior experience is not a prerequisite. We'll teach you everything you need to know.
In Fall 2020, I'm an online student not in Chattanooga. Can I still join the team?
Yep! We're changing things up with practices, tournaments, and social events this year to accommodate both in-person attendance and virtual participation. We're following all public health mandates to keep each other safe and healthy, and we're optimizing our tech to make sure that you still get a quality mock trial experience if you're Zooming in from home.
What do auditions look like? What are my chances of making the team?
You can see our audition process described in the audition packet. While we can't give you a percentage chance of being accepted because the number of auditioning students and open slots is different every year, we do our best to accept as many students as possible. Don't let the process intimidate you! Remember: You miss 100% of the shots you don't take. - Wayne Gretzky - Michael Scott.
I'm a graduate student. Can I join?
Sorry, no. The league we compete in only allows undergraduate students to join the team.
Anything else I should know?
To help subsidize the costs of running the program, we'll ask competing members to pay dues each semester, with amounts to be determined (approximately $20 in Fall 2020). We don't want that to be a deterrent to anyone's participation in the program, though, so talk to us if this is a concern and we will definitely work with you.
OK, I want to audition. What do I do?