- Mock trial is a competitive academic club on campus in which members take on different roles, such as witnesses, attorneys, and pre-trial attorneys, in a made-up trial case that the Constitutional Rights Foundation creates every year. You get to learn how trials work in the American justice system and compete against schools from all over the county at an actual courthouse.
How the competitions work
- Mock trial is usually a fall/winter commitment, and competitions take place in November and December. However, COVID-19 has shifted the competition schedule around this year.
- Typically, every Tuesday and Thursday of the competition season, the team goes to the Santa Ana Courthouse to compete against other Orange County schools in a real courtroom with a real judge presiding. Volunteer attorneys from the SoCal area come in to score each witness and attorney on their performance, and whichever team accumulates the most amount of points wins.
- There are four preliminary rounds. After four rounds, the top sixteen move on, and it is single elimination from there. The team that wins county gets to move on to the state competitions, which extends the mock trial season to April.
- Being on mock trial comes with a pretty hefty workload. In season, there are typically two practices a week that each run for two hours. Also, all members are expected to put in their own time to write their own materials (examinations, speeches, etc.), memorize them, review the case, and practice reciting their parts.
Why you should join
- The people — mock trial tends to attract very driven people, and the frequent practices mean that the members get very close. Also, mock trial hosts summer practices, so you walk into the next school year with a built in family and team in place.
- Public speaking skills — many people who join mock trial end up with much improved confidence in their public speaking skills.
- The coaches — the UHS team is coached by two attorneys who are both amazing. They care about the team, and you learn so many things from them that you would not learn in any other class or team at UHS.
- Teamwork skills — mock trial is very much a collaborative activity. It is not like the other public speaking clubs at UHS where you work by yourself or with one other person. You work in 16 person teams. The team environment makes the work process fun and not as stressful as other public speaking activities. You also learn to work with others.
How to join
- The club holds tryouts towards the end of each school year, and you can find out more about the tryouts at the interest meeting, which usually takes place around May. Go to @unimocktrial on Instagram for updates about interest meetings in May.
How to prepare for mock trial
- There is not much preparation needed to join mock trial. Any public speaking experience is nice to have, but it is not required. Many members come on to the team without any former public speaking experience. The tryout requirements vary based on the trial case every year, so make sure to attend the interest meeting if you want to join.
By ERIN JEON