Whether you’re planning to go to law school or you just like catching an episode of Law & Order here and there, Mock Trial could be the perfect activity for you.
For those of you who know that you want to join GW Mock Trial, please send us an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know who you are. We enjoy hearing from our prospective members, and the better we get to know you, the better your chances are of making the team, so it can’t hurt!
Why would you want to do Mock Trial?
Mock Trial teaches invaluable skills, such as how to speak publicly, think critically, argue, and persuade. You may think that you already know how to give a good speech or that you’re pretty good at arguing when you debate with your friends, but Mock Trial is on a whole different level. Imagine that you’re giving a direct examination and the other team’s attorney makes an objection that you’ve never thought about before. You’ve got to figure out his argument, apply it to the federal rules of evidence, come up with two ways to counter it, and then organize all of that into a concise, three sentence response. And you have about ten seconds to do it.
Mock Trial will teach you how to do all of this and more. It is no coincidence that many of the real trial judges who see us compete often remark that we are better than most of the attorneys who practice in their courts every day. But, whether you want to be a trial attorney or not, the skills that Mock Trial teaches are absolutely invaluable. Whether you are interviewing for a job, pitching an idea to your boss or trying to sell investors on your business plan, your ultimate goal is to persuade someone that your product is better than anyone else’s. Mock Trial will teach you how.
But, at the end of the day, we do Mock Trial because it’s fun.
There’s nothing quite so satisfying as seeing your hard work come to fruition when you face off against a tough opponent and beat them outright. As they say, we win together and we lose together, and camaraderie is a big part of Mock Trial too. Sure, you’ll make friends doing any extracurricular activity, but trust us when we say that Mock Trial is different. A team spends countless hours together, travels to tournaments across the country together, and generally sees more of each other than would normally be healthy. But the upside is, once the Mock Trial season is over, these are still the people that you’ll want to hang out with. We can promise, from personal experience, that some of your best friends will be made through Mock Trial.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you have any questions that aren’t answered here, please feel free to Contact Us.
Q: How often do you practice?
A: We’ll be honest with you — we practice. We practice a lot. Theories on how to achieve Mock Trial success abound, but just as in life, hard work is an essential component, and it is a major aspect of being a member of GW Mock Trial. Typically, a team will practice for about 10-15 hours per week in the Fall, but by the “post-season” in February, we will expect each member to dedicate 25+ hours per week.
Q: That sounds like a lot of time. I want to get involved in other extra-curriculars/greek life/student government/jobs/internships. Is that possible?
A: Absolutely. Our members are very active on campus, and almost everyone is involved in at least one other organization or on-campus activity. We have people heavily involved in Greek Life, the Student Association, and countless other student organizations. It’s really all up to you — if you’re good at time management, you can easily balance GW Mock Trial with other activities. Your captains will also understand your concerns, and will be glad to work out time issues with you.
Q: How many people try out each year, and how many are selected?
A: Typically, anywhere from 40-60 people try out for GW Mock Trial each year. Out of that number, 12-18 are drafted into the program. For example, In the 2014-2015 draft, 48 people tried out, and 15 were drafted.
Q: I only want to be a(n) attorney/witness. Will that hurt my chances of making the team?
A. Absolutely not. We have many members who specialize as only an attorney or as only a witness, and we have open spots for roles of every kind on all three of our teams. However, most members do end up competing as an attorney and as a witness at some point in their GW Mock Trial career, and many are often surprised at how much fun it can be to perform as one or the other. So, we do hope that you’ll be willing to try new things!
Q: I have no interest in law or law school. Why should I get involved in Mock Trial?
A: Mock Trial is a competitive speech and debate activity but it also has a significant acting component. Many of our most successful members have experience acting and are interested in theatre and drama. Autumn Reeser, star of the television series, The O.C., won the InterCollegiate Mock Trial All-American Award in 1999 for her stellar performance as a competitor at UCLA.
Q: I’ve never done Mock Trial before. Will that hurt my chances of making the team?
A: Absolutely not. Many of our most talented members have come to GW without any prior public speaking experience whatsoever. We also typically don’t give priority to prospective members who are already knowledgeable about the law or courtroom procedure. While that sort of thing might be nice, we pride ourselves on teaching our members everything they need to know about trial advocacy.
Q: What do you look for in tryouts?
A: We aren’t so much looking for people who are already good at Mock Trial as we are looking for potential. It’s easy for us to teach you how to write a direct-examination or how to impeach a witness. It’s a lot harder to teach you how to appear confident, calm, and collected, how to speak with presence, poise and force, or how to be charismatic, engaging and entertaining. These are the qualities that we want to see in your tryout. As you may know, the merits of an argument are often less important than the passion with which it is made. You have ten minutes to impress us with your personality and your presentation.