WHAT IS MOCK TRIAL?
Mock trial is a competitive activity that simulates a trial in court. Every year, hundreds of colleges across the country receive case materials from AMTA (the American Mock Trial Association) and prepare either a civil or criminal case. Each school prepares its own witnesses and attorneys, and then presents their case against other schools in front of judges and scorers who determine the winner. The witnesses answer questions in direct and cross examinations while maintaining character; the attorneys deliver speeches, make objections, and conduct the examinations. It’s a public speaking activity (with some law components) that requires thinking on your feet and an ability to improvise.
If you’re not familiar with mock trial, you can watch this clip from My Cousin Vinny to get an idea of what a cross examination is like. In this video, the attorney is attempting to prove that the witness may not have seen his clients leave and another pair of boys return in the meantime. If think you might like playing the attorney or the witness, mock trial is right for you!
WHY STANFORD MOCK TRIAL?
Stanford Mock Trial combines intelligence, fun, camaraderie, and hard work to create the most successful program possible. The challenge of mock trial is responding in-round to unknown factors with poise and confidence — and that is what we do best. We are ranked in the Top 15 teams in the nation, with two top-10 finishes at the National Championships in the past three years. We’ve won 1st place at our West Coast National Qualifier (they’re called ORCs) 3 of the last 4 years and two of our members have won All-American attorney awards in the last 3 years. We’ve even sent competitors to Trial by Combat, the most prestigious individual tournament in AMTA. And this year, we’re looking to win it all.
SMT is a unique activity in part because the skills you learn in mock trial go beyond the courtroom. Public speaking skills, combined with building confidence and adaptability, are not only applicable to the courtroom. This activity hones the best parts of communication in ways that benefit your academic career, personal life, and professional relationships.
BUILDING A COMMUNITY
While winning is certainly among the highest of our priorities, SMT is a team before anything else. Through weekly practices and cross-country tournaments, you become very close to the people around you and build long-lasting friendships with your teammates. It’s not rare to see members together in dining halls, parties, or chatting in the main quad.
BEING PART OF A LEGACY
SMT is proud to be part of a diverse community that builds upon the work of its predecessors. Even after graduation, members of SMT come back to watch tournaments and support their old teammates, and become part of an alumni community that is remembered and appreciated by current members.