Gain Valuable Public Speaking, Critical Thinking, and Teamwork Skills
Students in the Mock Trial Association have unique opportunities to master important skills. The activity involves routinely speaking before an audience, and members becomes experts at deciding the tone, pacing, and structure of speeches. Mock trial is unique in that students can not prepare for everything that could happen in trial, and members learn how to think quickly on their feet and adapt when things do not go as planned. This experience allows our members to speak confidently and clearly in a number of settings, such as classroom presentations, job interviews, and research talks.
Mock trial also requires students to learn critical thinking skills. The case materials each year are hundreds of pages long, and they often contain conflicting information. Students are responsible for sifting through all of the information to decide what is credible and persuasive. They then formulate the information from the case materials into a clear and convincing story of what happened, from the perspective of both sides. These stories must be presented in trial through the combined use of statements, witness testimony, and evidence from the case materials. Students also must learn to apply the law to the specific set of facts in the case problem, which is a valuable exercise for both aspiring lawyers and those that intend to pursue other careers.
Good teamwork skills are also inherent in mock trial. Each team member is responsible for presenting specific parts of the trial, but they must work together to ensure that the entire presentation has a consistent theme and narrative. Attorneys must work with their witnesses to ensure that the facts needed later in the trial are brought to light, and often the pair must adapt together if things do not go according to plan. There are also numerous leadership opportunities in mock trial, and many members eventually run for a position as a team captain or an executive board member.
Make Friends and Network
Mock trial is a great way to meet new people on campus. While the Mock Trial Association is a competitive, we have also have a laid back, fun, and social side. Many of our members spend time together on weekends, and often a large group will attend campus events such as football games together.
There are also a number of networking opportunities for mock trial members. Members frequently interact with area attorneys, who serve as coaches and tournament judges. Mock trial also draws high-achieving students, and many of our alumni have gone on to great things. There are students from dozens of different majors in mock trial, and we have very diverse interests outside of the activity. Mock Trial Association members go on to careers in law, engineering, finance, medicine, education, consulting, and more. We also collaborate with other campus groups to host professional development events throughout the year.
Travel and Compete
The Mock Trial Association is a traveling organization, and we attend tournaments across the region. Typically, we begin the year with several tournaments in the Twin Cities area to learn the case. As the season moves on, teams transition to tournaments in different cities in the Midwest. Usually, the season will have at least one or two out of town tournaments. In the past, the organization has attended tournaments at the University of Illinois in Urbana, the University of Wisconsin in Superior, and Loras College in Iowa. The team has also traveled nationally. After saving up for several years, the teams traveled to a tournament in New York City during the 2011-2012 season, which was a great experience for the team members.