Frequently Asked Questions

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1. What is a mock trial?

A mock trial simulates a trial level proceeding. Students form teams and portray both lawyers and witnesses. Each team is given an identical set of facts, witness depositions, and a limited number of evidentiary rules. They then present opening statements, direct and cross examinations, and closing arguments. Performance may be judged by a combination of students, professors, or practicing attorneys and judges.

2. What's the difference between mock trial and moot court?

While mock trial simulates the trial level proceeding, moot court simulates the appellate level proceeding. Among other differences, mock trial involves witness testimony, with statements and arguments directed to a jury, whereas moot court involves attorneys making arguments to, and answering questions directly from, a panel of judges only. Many students participate in both the mock trial and moot court student organizations; they are not mutually exclusive.

3. Is it useful for students who don't want to be litigators?

Absolutely! No matter what area of law you want to work in, your job will entail understanding your audience and communicating your message accordingly. The skills you develop in mock trial will help develop the confidence and ability to do this well.

4. Do we find out the verdict after our trial?

While we seek to simulate a trial court proceeding, mock trial is not about getting to a "guilty" or "not guilty" verdict. Rather, each team member is scored based on their performance, including factors like knowledge of the rules of evidence, command of case facts, presentation ability, and persuasiveness. The team with more overall points in a round "wins" the trial.