Reaching a Verdict With Mock Trial

In college, students are frequently challenged to create original and profoundly, intellectual claims. College students primarily debate and prove the validity of their arguments or claims through papers, essays and thesis reports.

The Mock Trial team allows students to take their arguments and debate them in a courtroom against an opposing team.

UC Irvine’s Mock Trial team was established in 2006 and has been ranked number one, for two consecutive years in a pool of over 200 universities and colleges.

The team is widely known for its consistent and dominant performance in mock trial competitions, defeating teams such as Harvard, Stanford, Columbia and many others.

The main goal of the competition is to score points for one’s team through professional presentations and arguments in a courtroom setting. Since the victor is decided by number of points, scoring them takes a small precedence over preserving the integrity of the team’s legal position during a case.

UC Irvine consistently displays an entertaining show during tournaments. The team strives to make the audience laugh, cry and engage in the case, ultimately adding points to the ballot.

“We know how to play the game and how to play it well,” explained Mock Trial president, Laureen Bousmail. “We knew how to play it right, really quickly in comparison to some of the other big name teams, like Harvard and Stanford.”

The purpose of the team is to provide a competitive and academic experience to the members. The team also allows students to try something that most of them have not known. Mock trial is a public speaking competition with a component in law — a contest in which not many students participate in high school.

The Mock Trial team frequently travels to tournaments outside of Irvine on the weekends. The locations of tournaments have taken the team to numerous places ranging from New York to Arizona.

Irvine’s Mock Trial team hosts numerous tournaments for high school mock trial teams, promoting the organization. The team also organizes a yearly training academy for high school teams known as the Championship Mock Trial Academy.

Former and current members of UC Irvine’s Mock Trial team and the president of the American Mock Trial Association and former coach of the team, Justin Bernstein led the academy during the fall season.

In previous years, the team was composed of three to five teams. The first team was named “A,” the second, “B,” and continues until the fifth team.

New members began in the “D” team or “C” team, depending on his or her performance during tryouts. Members worked their way from the bottom through their performance in tournaments or scrimmages against other universities.

This year, there’s only has one team in the hopes of training talented and dedicated students. Since this is the first year the mock trial team does not have a coach, the returning veterans must train new members, while preparing for the single, year long case.

“We’d [veteran members] rather train a few, dedicated members than have large, separate teams,” explained Bousmail. “We want to keep our competitive rank rather than split our energy training other teams.”

The team is composed of various majors rather than the standard political science students. Physics, biological sciences, psychology and many other majors make up the squad. Each major offers its own advantages and disadvantages when one does take mock trial. However, there is not a specific major that guarantees success in mock-trial competitions.

Most of the members on Mock Trial proceed to law school after their undergraduate years. However, there are several members who have no intention of pursuing a future in law.

“You can be any major and do this [Mock Trial]. The number one thing that you gain is being a better presenter and speaker, which is going to be essential for any major,” said Mock Trial member, Elmira Yousufi.

The Mock Trial team allows students to practice the art of public speaking in a courtroom setting. Creating thoughts and drawing conclusions during moments of confusion characterize the club’s most intense component. It is during these moments of conclusion one’s critical reasoning skills emerge and are applied.

The team is extremely close-knitted and boasts numerous connections to attorneys, litigators, judges and other law figures during intercollegiate tournaments. Since most alumni go straight to law school after graduation, many of them have benefitted from these valuable connections.

This organization challenges all of its members not only to become proficient in public speaking but also to think quickly and profoundly.

If you want a challenge and love the satisfaction from winning by arguing against your opponents in a courtroom, Mock Trial is the perfect fit.