Mock Trial team members at UW Law School enroll in a trial advocacy class in the fall, and participate in national competitions in the spring. For students interested in litigation, Mock Trial is an invaluable experience to develop skills that other courses cannot provide.
About the classroom experience
Practice trial advocacy
In Mock Trial, members learn by doing. They create their own direct and cross examinations, opening statements, closing arguments, and get first-hand advice from practicing attorneys.
See the Rules of Evidence in action
Students learn the basics of evidence and put their knowledge into practice. Learn when to object and how to do so persuasively. You do not have to take Evidence before joining mock trial.
Mock Trial Activities
Each year, Mock Trial members either compete or participate as alternates in one of several competitions. Competitions encompass a variety of legal topics; however, expertise in specialized fields is not required. Our team will compete at the Buffalo Niagara Mock Trial Competition the weekend of November 10th-13th, 2017. Please visit our page later this fall for a list of the competitions our team will compete in this spring!
Approach the Bench
If you are interested in learning more about mock trial, come join us at our next Approach the Bench event. Approach the Bench is informal gathering for law students interested in learning more about mock trial. Please visit our page next semester to see when we will be hosting our next Approach the Bench event!
If you have any further questions about mock trial, please contact our Mock Trial President, Emily Pellegrini, firstname.lastname@example.org or Kim Peterson, director of the mock trial program, email@example.com.
Why join Mock Trial?
Develop your skills
The skills you will acquire as a Mock Trial member simply cannot be replicated by book study alone. Become more confident and poised. Refine your public speaking skills. What you learn here translates far beyond the courtroom.
Enhance your résumé
Show your employers that your public speaking and oral communication skills are second to none! If you are looking to give yourself a competitive edge without putting in some serious, time, however beware! Mock Trialers earn every bit of their excellent reputations.
Work with experienced students and attorneys
Like many student organizations, Mock Trial provides a fantastic opportunity to learn from your peers, and enjoy a collaborative environment. An added bonus: all of our coaches are either still practicing law, or have recently turned to teaching after highly successful litigation careers. As a result, their advice is on point and up to date.
2Ls and 3Ls are eligible to receive 3 credits (pass/fail) during a semester in which they compete and 2 credits (pass/fail) during a semester in which they fully participate in mock trial but are not part of a competing team. Under ABA rules, 1Ls are ineligible to receive credit for mock trial due to limits on the number of credits a 1L can receive under ABA rules.
Become a Member of Mock Trial
Mock Trial is a competitive trial advocacy program. Team members are chosen after a competitive tryout and they are trained in the art of trial level litigation in a three-credit course. Outstanding team members have the opportunity to try a case against mock trial teams from other law schools in competitions across the nation. The cases encompass a range of topics in both civil and criminal areas. The teams are coached by select, experienced local attorneys and judges.
Tryouts for Mock Trial take place early in the spring semester of a student’s first year of law school. The tryout process requires students to present a five- to ten-minute closing argument in front of a panel of judges. The closing argument is based on a case file, which includes a case summary, statements of prosecution and defense witnesses, and other relevant documents. Students may prepare a closing argument for either the prosecution or the defense. Students who are trying out will have the opportunity to practice in front of current Mock Trial members.
The judges evaluating closing arguments will consider a number of factors, including substance, organization, and overall presentation. Invitations to join the Mock Trial team will be offered one to two weeks after the tryout process concludes.
If you have any questions regarding tryouts, please contact Mock Trial Vice Presidents of Membership, Rose Fisher (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Alex Abernethy (email@example.com).
Mock Trial Contacts
Kelly Orth, President
Michael Staskunas, Vice President of Membership
Rachel Dykema, Vice President of Membership
Bill Grau, Vice President of Competition Logistics
Max Lenz, Vice President of Outreach
Mock Trial Coaches
Wisconsin Department Of Justice
17 W Main St
PO Box 7857
Madison WI 53707-7857
Supervisory Staff Attorney
American Family Mutual Insurance Company
6000 American Parkway
Matthew J. Van Keulen
Trial Staff Attorney
American Family Insurance Group
Dane County Circuit Court Commissioner
Dane County Courthouse
215 S. Hamilton
Madison WI 53703-3219