Featured Question: How is Texas A&M Mock Trial preparing for COVID-19?
We understand there is much uncertainty revolving around COVID-19. As a result, our officer team has created multiple action plans to accommodate every situation this fall. Should classes be moved online once again, we have altered our curriculum and created instructive videos for students to watch in an online format. Our team will also host online meetings using a platform such as zoom. We are also working with our governing body, AMTA, and local teams to develop a program to potentially participate in online tournaments should travel and gatherings be restricted. That is not to say all of the interactions with our teams will be restricted, however. Each of our teams are under 10 members, complying with state and local social gathering guidelines of groups. If we do allow for in-person interactions among team members, we will ask for details regarding who you have come in contact with, if symptoms are being displayed, and work in conjunction with the university's contact tracing program. We are working hard to ensure your time with us will remain beneficial to you academically, competitvely, and socially, while maintaining safe practices compliant with standards set by medical professionals. (Updated 7/21/2020)
What exactly is Mock Trial?
Mock Trial is an academic competition. More than 500 teams from over 300 colleges and universities compete in invitational, regional, and national competitions every year. During a mock trial, two teams (one portraying the plaintiff, or prosecution, and one portraying the defense) compete in front of a panel of judges. During competition, students present opening statements, examine witnesses, portray witnesses, object to improper testimony, and make closing arguments. The Texas A&M Mock Trial team has multiple teams that compete to give as many people as possible a chance to learn different roles.
Do I need to be “Pre-Law” to excel at Mock Trial?
Absolutely not. Historically, some of our most successful competitors had absolutely no interest in law school – they just loved the activity. Of course, students interested in law are encouraged to try out, but so are students interested in public speaking, debate, and theater. We are looking for students of all years and interests.
What is the time commitment for Mock Trial?
Students are expected to attend the team’s regular practices, held Tuesday and Thursday from 8:30-9:40 PM. In addition to regularly scheduled practices, we will have practices on some Sundays and Saturdays of which you are also expected to attend. Working on the case outside of regularly scheduled practices each week will be necessary. Students can expect to travel for competition anywhere between 1 to 3 weekends a semester. You will be given a calendar at the first meeting with most of the dates for the semester, including extra practices.
Do you hold auditions?
Yes. Due to the high level of competition we strive for in mock trial, we require all students, including returning members of mock trial, to participate in an audition and interview each school year. It usually consists of a short speech and cross examination followed by questions to get to know you! We hold auditions every September and membership lasts the entire school year (fall - spring semesters). If you are interested in joining mock trial or have any questions about auditions, check back around September, or contact us!
Where do you compete?
We typically compete around Texas, but Mock Trial competitions take place all over the country. Historically, Texas A&M Mock Trial has sent teams to Tennessee, Pennsylvania, and Florida each year. In the past two years, Texas A&M Mock Trial has additionally sent qualified teams to the Opening Round Championships (ORC’s) in Memphis, Tennessee and Santa Monica, California. We also competed at the National Championship in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 2019.
Can I do Mock Trial if I am thinking about joining another club/getting a job/getting involved on campus in another way?
Sure! Our team members are all incredibly involved on campus (we’ve had RAs, TAs, researchers, members of Greek Life, students with part-time jobs, etc.). While mock trial is a time commitment, it does not (and should not) need to be your only commitment. We find that some of the best members are often ones that are involved in other organizations and learn how to balance all aspects of life. We firmly believe that Mock Trial should not be held above your academics and life and try to replicate that concern through our organization structure.
Can I do Mock Trial if I have no previous experience with Mock Trial?
Absolutely. While some students join us with years of high school experience in mock trial, most come to us with no experience at all. Previous mock trial experience is not a prerequisite; in fact, many of our most successful competitors came to Texas A&M without any previous experience. Don’t worry, we will teach you everything you need to know!
Check out AMTA’s (American Mock Trial Association) website and learn all about past cases, results, and tournaments: