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What is Mock Trial?

Mock Trial is a competition in which students simulate a real trial.  The trial concerns an official AMTA case that remains the same through the entire academic year.  The case alternates between a civil and a criminal case every year. The case is entirely fictional, taking place in the fictional state of Midlands.

Teams consist of 6-10 members, but only 6 compete at any given time—3 attorneys and 3 witnesses. These 6 people will go against 6 other people from a different university.  Teams must prepare both sides of the case (prosecution/plaintiff and defense) for every competition.  This means that any given person could have two roles; one for each side of the case.

At each tournament there are four rounds.  In each round you compete only one side of your case meaning you will act as prosecution/plaintiff or defense.  A trial consists of opening statements, direct examinations, cross-examinations, and closing statements. Since each team provides 3 witnesses in a round, a total of 6 witnesses will be presented in each round of competition, each requiring a direct examination (by an attorney on their team) and a cross examination (by an attorney from the opposing team).  All of these are prepared prior to trial.

In addition, attorneys must also learn how to object using the Midlands Rules of Evidence.  During rounds, the judges score attorneys and witnesses on a scale of 1 to 10.  The team that has the most points at the end of a round wins that round.  At the end of four rounds, scores are tabulated and the winners are announced.

Confused? Yeah, that’s normal if you’ve never done mock trial before. Think the court scenes from Legally Blonde or Law and Order: SVU (minus a little bit of drama).