The verdict is in. Auburn University’s Mock Trial Competition Team is a beneficial opportunity for students desiring to learn the ins and outs of a career in law. Students expand their study of law though various competitions, which they compete against other schools from around the country. Students develop critical thinking and public speaking skills, as well as a knowledge of legal practices and procedures.
The team is made up of members from various colleges and departments at Auburn. Anyone interested in learning about law practices is welcome to join, whether you want to have a future as a lawyer or you just want to be able to argue a case as well as Detective Lennie Briscoe from Law and Order.
Auburn’s Mock Trial Competition Team was founded in 2008 by a group of students in a political science class (POLI 5970: Special Topics). The team is coached by local attorneys and this year’s team is made up of 24 members.
Each year, a new case packet is released by the American Mock Trial Association. This year, members are studying a criminal DUI case. The case packet contains documents that are typically found in a real-life trial. This includes stipulations, case law, witness affidavits and exhibits. The team studies the trial throughout the school year and develops and presents a case for both the plaintiff and the defense.
Team members are split into two groups, which they have named the orange and blue teams. Each team works on preparing an argument for either side of the case.
“We prepare both sides of the case and at the regional competitions we present both sides twice,” says Jordan Montet, a junior majoring in sociology and a member of the Mock Trial Team for two years.
Montet currently serves as the team’s secretary. She hopes to attend law school upon graduating from Auburn in December of 2012.
“Mock trial has given me a lot of preparation because I’ve learned a lot of the federal rules of evidence as well as a lot of court and trial procedure,” says Montet. “Just having the experience and building the connections is really beneficial.”
The team requires a significant time commitment. The team practices each week and holds organization meetings once or twice per month. Additional team practices may be required as competitions approach.
Membership involves two phases, an interview and a tryout. If chosen for the second phase after the interview, students will participate in the tryout round where they will be asked to act as an attorney by writing and presenting an opening and cross examination to a current team member serving as a witness.
Auburn’s Mock Trial Competition Team offers students an opportunity to learn trial techniques and evidential reasoning, familiarize them with court procedures and give them a hands-on experience inside the courtroom.
For more information about Auburn University’s Mock Trial Competition Team visit their student organization page on Auburn’s website.