The Criminal Justice Mock Trial Team competes against other colleges in American Mock Trial Association tournaments. At a tournament, teams of attorneys and witnesses present criminal or civil cases. Trials are very similar to actual trials, where attorneys make opening and closing statements, question witnesses, and argue rules of evidence.
Students get academic credit for participating on the team. During the semester, experienced attorneys and judges work with students to help them develop powerful trial presentation skills. In addition, the criminal justice department offers courses to build understanding of trial advocacy (CRJ 340) and rules of evidence (CRJ 225).
Improve public speaking and reasoning skills — The Mock Trial experience helps students develop their persuasive ability and logical skills as they learn to prepare opening and closing statements and develop trial strategy.
Gain confidence — The Mock Trial Team is designed to gradually introduce students into the advocacy process. Students typically start off adopting the role of witnesses, then learn to assist as attorneys on cases, and eventually build up to taking a lead role on cases. This process produces a high level of confidence in one’s abilities; confidence that stays with you beyond the Mock Trial Team.
Travel — The Mock Trial Team typically travels to 3–4 tournaments a year in different cities.
Spend time in courtrooms with real judges and attorneys — Experienced local attorneys and judges work with students to help them prepare for tournaments. The opportunity to work with these legal professionals is incredibly valuable and a rare opportunity.
Build friendships — Above all else, the Mock Trial Team is fun! Students form lasting friendships with their teammates.