A BRIEF SUMMARY...
Mock Trial is just what it sounds like: fake trial. Teams analyze extensive facts and evidence concerning a criminal or civil case and use it to craft a court case that includes opening statements, witness examinations, and closing arguments. Meanwhile, across the nation, hundreds of other teams are doing the exact same thing for the same case. Teams then travel to try their cases against other teams in front of "judges" and "jurors."
CAN YOU GIVE ME AN EXAMPLE?
The 2018-2019 case was a civil case about a chimpanzee attack on a late night talk show. The television studio accused the animal’s owner of bringing a poorly trained chimpanzee on set. The owner disagreed and asserted that the studio created an unsafe environment that provoked the animal. All year, mock trial teams studied the elements of negligence, grappled with evidence, and perfected their versions of both sides of the case. Ultimately, the goal is to bring the story to life at competitions by calling witnesses, asking compelling questions, and articulating legal arguments.
The American Mock Trial Association (AMTA) distributes all case materials to its members annually and control the national competition bracket. Check out the AMTA website for more information!
Some teammates celebrating a bid to ORCs
WHAT ARE COMPETITIONS LIKE?
The larger team splits into “mini-teams” of 6-8 people. Each works on preparing both sides (plaintiff/prosecution and defense) of the case. Each side calls 3 witnesses and has 3 lawyers arguing. Direct examinations, cross examinations, opening statements, and closing arguments are given *almost* just like you’ve seen in Law & Order. After weeks of prep, we travel together to schools all over the east coast and try our case against other teams. At each competition, teams perform in 4 rounds: two defense, two prosecution/ plaintiff.
Past destinations include University of Pennsylvania, Columbia University, and Yale University. Each season ends with the national championship series, beginning with Regionals. Should a team make it past Regionals, they move on to the Open Round Championship Series (ORCS), and then hopefully to Nationals!
Elias the chimpanzee preparing for his appearance on TV.
WHO CAN DO MOCK?
full of creative ideas?
a good public speaker?
a non-public speaker who likes learning?
interested in law?
down for some road trips?
a believer in justice?
a W&M student?
a team player?
a haver of fun?