Western Kentucky University

Political Science - Mock Trial

Mock Trial

If you have clicked this link then you have already demonstrated your interest in mock trial. Our website has can provide you with useful information on what mock trial is all about, familiarize you with the WKU Mock Trial Team members, the team's recent competitive activity and upcoming competitions, our sponsor's or how to sponor the team, and links to other useful resources about mock trial and the law in general.

The Mock Trial Team typically meets Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6:30 - 7:50 pm in room 339 of Grise Hall.  Please contact the Department for up-to-date meeting times.

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What is Mock Trial?

"The purpose of mock trial is to educate the youth of America about our legal system, our jurisprudence and the work of our attorneys. To that end the educational function in all of our activities is primary and any competitive aspect of mock trial is secondary. The ideals of fairness, civility and justice should guide our actions.

Through engaging in trial simulations in competition with teams from other institutions, students develop critical thinking and public speaking skills, as well as a knowledge of legal practices and procedures. AMTA sponsors regional and national-level competitions, as well as providing interesting and complex case materials for academic use." - AMTA website

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Why should you join Mock Trial?

 

Learn About the Law

We've all seen the law dramas on TV, but what really goes into a winning case? How do you know what the jury needs to near, and how can you get the criticl information before the jury? You will learn how to prove your case, evidence rules, techniques for questioning witneses, and how to structure arguments.

 

Build Your Resume

Employers like to see that you can carry out commitments, seek challenges, and go above and beyond mere enrollment in schoo. They like to see follow-through.

 

Prepare for Law School

Law schools like to see demonstrated interest in law. Mock trial can show that interest, as well as preparing you for questioning under the Socratic method, the common first year oral argument requirement, and mock trial in law schoo. It can also give you an opportunity to see if you might like being a litigator. It can also boost your confidence, since you will go into law school knowing something about evidence, the prima facie case, burden of proof, etc.

 

Have Fun with Other Students

Above all, Mock Trial is a lot of fun. Whether you take the classes or just compete on the team, you are getting to argue and pit your wits against other students. There is nothing more satisfying than getting an opposing witness to cave, or showing up another student attorney. But among the competitiveness, there are friendships being forged and a lot of laughs. This is the fun par about practicing law, the good stuff without all the legal research and writing. It is great being a part of something worthwhile and sharing the experience with other people.

 

Use and Improve Acting Skills

Especially for witnesses, acting is key. You will have a basis for your testimony, an affidavit, and perhaps other evidence, but the actual words you choose and how you express yourself when being questioned is totally up to you. In the past, students have enjoyed playing, among others, a teenage thug, a chief of police, a disgruntled former cop, an social worker stabbed with a needle and infected with HIV when she tried to remove a child from a home, a radio show host, a psychologist, the bereaved sibling of a cop who had committed suicide, a minister, and (believe it or not, I am not making this up) a forgetful addict who lives in a van down by the river. Each year there is a new case, with a new host of interesting and distinctive witnesses.

 

If you play an attorney, you are also putting on an identity. In previous national championship matches some attorneys actually gave themselves accents (I'm not sure why sounding like a British attorney is better), and I'll bet they sure had fun doing it.

 

Improve your confidence and public speaking skills

It isn't easy to get up in front of other students and give an opening argument or question a student, but we will all be supportive of you. You will be amazed at how much you can improve just by doing it over and over. What's more you will start to sound like an attorney and think like one. This can have many beneficial consequences in the rest of your life. Are you scared to ask your professors questions in class? Not anymore; if you can question an intractable witness, you can question anyone!

 

Compete against other schools

Traveling to other cities for the weekend and competing against other schools is fun, and WKU funds most of the expense. You can meet other students with a common interest and represent WKU in competitions. Being with your teammates for the weekend is great for bonding and an experience not to be missed. Now you can finally put all of your hard work to use and show what your team is made of when you cream that other school. Vanderbilt, watch out!!

 

Win Awards

During the 2007-2008 season two students won best witness awards. One at an invitational competition, and another at regionals. You also have an opportunity to win attorney awards and team awards.

 

The WKU Mock Trial Team needs you!

The American Mock Trial Association will put out its new case for the year in August and competitions will start in October. That's why we need you to get involved and prepare to compete at the beginning of the fall. Please sign up for the e-mail list so that we can contact you then. Let us know if you want to be placed on the Mock Trial Team blackboard site. You will be way ahead if you enroll in the mock trial classes. I will be teaching Mock Trial I (Political Science 324) and Mock Trial II (Political Science 325) in both the fall and spring semester. Mock Trial I is offered in the first part of the bi-term each semester, and Mock Trial II is offered in the second part of the bi-term each semester. The classes are taught around the current case, graded pass/fail, and taking the classes is the easiest way to prepare for competitions, while receiving credit.

If you would like to join the mock trial team, please visit the "Contact Us" webpage.

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Testimonial about Mock Trial:

"Every attorney remembers the first case they won, as every Mock Trial member remembers their first trial they won. The sense of self-accomplishment and pride in hard work is what many members too away from the Mock Trial Team. I am proud of dramatically improving my public speaking skills, which I will use through my future career as a trial attorney. Bi-weekly Mock Trial Classes and bi-weekly Mock Trial Team sessions forced me to have to speak regularly in front of a classroom full of people. The trials ended any fear of public speaking and eventually being in a courtroom felt more natural." - Neil Woods, Former Mock Trial Team Member

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Mock Trial Regionals 2010

Mock Trial students participate in 2010 regionals.American Mock Trial Association


 Last Modified 7/23/13