Auburn University Mock Trial is a student-led team that competes on a national level. It consists of two teams that argue opposing sides of a legal case.
To win a trial, a team must argue a case better than the other, not just have the right facts. Auburn’s team competes at least three times a year, including one invitational competition in the fall, one in the spring and Regionals in February.
If successful in Regionals, the team has the opportunity to advance to the Opening Round Championships, or ORCS. Just last year, for the first time in Auburn’s history, both teams received the opportunity to compete at ORCS.
“Auburn’s Mock Trial Competition Team competes in a national program called the American Mock Trial Association (AMTA),” said Justin Parker, the team’s vice president of external affairs.
Once a year, AMTA releases a criminal or civil case that includes evidence, prevailing case law, witness affidavits, certain rules of evidence and other legal components. Teams take a side of the case — either the plaintiff or the defense —and make an opening statement, a direct for a witness, a cross-examination for witnesses and a closing argument. Teams are also expected to know a scaled-down version of the Federal Rules of Evidence known as the Midlands Rules of Evidence.
Auburn’s Mock Trial Competition Team also holds a crash course for all applicants. The crash course is specifically for applicants with little to no experience. During the crash course the team’s executive board will go over what skills will be needed for tryouts. The crash course will be on Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2019, at 6 p.m. in Mell 3133.
During tryouts, applicants will have to give an opening statement and a cross-examination based on this year’s AMTA case, along with an impromptu speech based on a randomly picked question. To try out for Auburn’s team, a student must sign up on an email list at either an information session or the crash course.
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According to Parker, the club is not major-specific and experience with mock trial is not required.
“I know it seems daunting, but we don’t require any previous experience, and we’re very open to speaking to anyone interested,” Parker said. “If you get stressed out about the application because you think, ‘I’ve never had mock trial experience’, I would sit down and give you some pointers. This is my second year doing mock trial, so before last year, I had no experience either.”
Tryouts will be held Aug. 29, 2019, and Aug. 30, 2019, in Lowder Hall 34.
“You know, we strive for professionalism,” Parker said. “This year we are aiming to go to nationals; last year we had two teams to receive a bid to the first opening rounds of the competition. This is our eleventh year competing, and we’re aiming to go further.”
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