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Frequently Asked Questions

Want to join the team but looking for more info? Keep reading!

  • What exactly is mock trial?
    Think of it like a speech and debate competition that takes place in a court room setting. Some members on the team act as lawyers - making speeches in front of a jury, questioning witnesses, and arguing objections. Other members perform as witnesses - inhabiting the role of a character involved in the trial (which can include accents, costumes, and acting skills). You win a mock trial round by being more persuasive, polished, and charismatic than the other school that you compete against. People who are good at mock trial are cool under pressure, have good memorization skills, and know how to capture attention. When you join the team, we'll teach you all those skills you need.
  • 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.
  • What are some of the perks of competing?
    Mock Trial takes you to some awesome places throughout the year. For example, the team traveled to Los Angeles for the National Championship Tournament. Other tournament destinations include Minneapolis, Columbus, Atlanta, Pensacola, Raleigh, Nashville, 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 and future roommates 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.
  • What do auditions look like? What are my chances of making the team?
    You can see our audition process described in the audition packet we send you. 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 nervous about auditioning. Can you give me some tips?
    We were nervous too! We've been in your shoes, and we know you don't get a ton of time to polish and memorize. So, don't worry if you feel less than 100% ready. Pretty much everyone forgets a few lines in the speech or some facts in the witness statement. To help you memorize your speech, you could try audio-recording yourself while you read the speech out loud. Then, listen to the recording multiple times, to help you learn the content. (Also, you should know that if you get stumped during the audition, we'll prompt you with a few phrases from the speech to get you back on track.) You could also try hand-writing certain lines from the affidavit or the speech. The process of writing out words by hand might help you commit them to memory. If you're feeling comfortable with the content, think about performance next. Practicing in front of a mirror can help you work out good hand gestures or facial expressions.
  • Can I join the team at any point during the year?
    Generally speaking, we hold auditions in early September and plan to retain all members who make the team at that point. So, the start of the academic year is definitely when you should reach out, if you want to participate. However, we often have new spots open up as the year goes on, so if you're just finding out about us and curious to learn more, don't be shy! If you are a good fit, we will make room for you, even if it's later in the season.
  • I'm a freshman - should I be worried about balancing mock trial with my new college responsibilities?
    A majority of our new members every year are freshmen, and we think you could definitely fit mock trial into your schedule as a freshman. Also, since you build up your skill level each season as a mock trial competitor, the sooner you join, the more successful you're going to be. So, if you're new to college and a little apprehensive about taking on extracurriculars, don't worry - a lot of us had that same concern, but we're so glad we joined this team. You'll really get to know lots of upperclassmen who can help guide you.
  • Is this an extracurricular or a class? Do I get any academic credit?
    We're an extracurricular activity open to all undergraduates, not a class. But, you can earn several hours of academic credit over time, if you participate on the team. Talk to us at an interest meeting for more details!
  • I'm a graduate student. Can I join?
    Sorry, no. The league we compete in only allows undergraduate students to join the team.
  • How much does it cost? 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 (expect around $20-$50). 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?
    Great! Attend an Interest Meeting, and check out our Auditions Page to get signed up.
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