This is Western’s second year having the opportunity to take students to compete in a regional mock trial competition.
The Mock Trial Team is where a panel of legal experts create trials for students to emerge themselves in. Students learn the basic rules of evidence and procedure of trial. Then they take those skills to a regional competition. At the regional competition, Western students competed against schools from California, Arizona and here in Colorado.
On campus, there is a Mock Trial Club where students can practice their law skills. Additionally, in the fall an Evidence and Trial Skills course is offered, teaching students about rules of evidence and the mechanisms of trial. Anyone is welcome to join the team and take the course in the fall. The Mock Trial Club is essentially who will travel to compete.
It takes a lot of preparation to present a case at the regional competition.
“We spend a semester preparing for the competition,” said Mike King, the staff advisor for Mock Trial. “Just for the club we had 12 practices at the beginning of the year, three run-throughs and I met with each student individually.”
King is certified by the National Institute of Trial Advocacy, where he was trained to teach law to other lawyers. King uses the Mock Trial Team to put that training to use and teach students about law.
The competition gives students a professional environment where they can go through these trials given to them and try to prove their reasonings.
“Each trial receives points, and the points are for various skills exhibited like opening and closing arguments, objecting and responding to objections, directing cross-examination,” King said. “We had some individual attorneys perform extremely well this spring.”
At the competition, students fight for spots in nationals.
Nine students from the team attended the competition this year. Up to 12 students from a school may compete with a minimum of six students. Unfortunately, the team did not qualify for nationals, but King thinks it will be easily achievable in upcoming years. Anyone is welcome to join the club and take the class.
Interested in participating in Mock Trial? Reach out to Mike King at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Story by Western junior Taya Olson.