Mock trials are carefully designed learning "games" that recreate the procedures, dynamics and drama of civil or criminal court trials. The UNH Mock Trial Program provides a rewarding opportunity for students interested in the law, or those that want to put their theatrical or debating talents to the test in intercollegiate competition. Students acquire the knowledge and skills to participate on teams as attorneys, witnesses and supporting players. They use those skills in scrimmages and tournaments against teams from colleges and universities from the region.
One of mock trial's noteworthy features as a scholastic competition is that its first purpose is to be educational and its competitive aspects are secondary. Many mock trial participants find that while the spirit of competition motivates them to do their best work, the spirit of fairness and civility, which mock trial competitions are intended to foster, offer some of its greatest rewards.
Mock Trial Explained
The UNH Mock Trial Program is open to undergraduate students interested in learning about the legal system and the dynamics of trial litigation. Students join teams of 8-10 persons. They learn the skills of argument, witness examination, evidentiary procedure, trial strategy and persuasive speaking. They prepare to participate both for the defense and the plaintiff or prosecution. Each year students work with a "fact pattern," a packet of case materials prepared by the American Mock Trial Association. The UNH Mock Trial Teams compete at various intercollegiate competitions throughout the year, including the American Mock Trial Association's Regional Competitions held at other universities in the Northeast. All teams have a chance at competing in the National Tournaments held in St. Paul, MN and Des Moines, IA.
Students submit written openings, closing, directs and crosses. The weeks before tournaments are very busy. Mock trial is a team activity, and students are expected to commit themselves to their teammates' success. The Regional Tournament (first week of Feb.) is not convenient for us; you may need to come back to campus a day or two before the start of the semester to rehearse. Mock trial does not meet in December or in May so students can concentrate on their other courses.
No. The skills you develop in mock trial will serve you well in any endeavor: public speaking; strategizing, teamwork, improvisation, and debate. Students with prior experience in either theater or debate have much to offer. At the same time, students with a special interest in the law, law-related topics or law-related careers can expect that active participation in the mock trial program will enrich their understanding of and appreciation for the dynamics of the trial process.
No and Yes. Law schools will not give you special credit for taking mock trial. Doing well in your major and on the LSAT plays the largest role in law school admissions. However, mock trial (like an internship) is an excellent way of learning about and displaying you interest in law.