The Mock Trial Society is one of hundreds of amazing clubs at the University of Connecticut. However, there is something to be said about a society that has real life judges, lawyers and law professors who score a group of students’ ability to try a case, that makes Mock Trial Society stand apart.
“I think mock trial is a program that, by the nature of how competitive it is, has a lot of ups and downs,” Julie Reidy, a sixth-semester statistics and political science major, as well as the society’s vice president, said.
She along with sixth-semester accounting major and society President Ryan Hutchins are in charge of everything from reaching out to lawyers and judges to selecting new students to join mock trial.
Recruiting new members usually starts at the beginning of the fall semester and all students are welcome. Although the deadline to join the club for the 2020-21 academic year was Sept.13, if you are interested in joining the Mock Trial Society, you can still contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
“Every year, we [Hutchins and the executive board of the Mock Trial Society] think about how do we get the best new members possible,” Hutchins said.
The UConn Mock Trial Society was founded in Oct. 2007 by 12 undergraduate students at the university. Since the founding, the society has been recognized by the American Mock Trial Association — the group responsible for hosting a majority of college mock trial tournaments. Today, the group is made up of approximately 30 members.
In addition to tournaments, the society has a process for reaching out to legal experts for competitions.
“It’s a process of emailing real life attorneys and judges to come and judge your competition,” Claire Lasher, a fourth-semester English major and tournament director, said.
The competition season for mock trials starts around late October and runs until late March. In January, the informal part of the season starts which is otherwise known as invitationals. These are usually run by different mock trial teams as a way to practice for the competition portion of the season. The tournament season starts following the end of the invitationals in February and continues into April.
Depending on how far a mock trial team makes it in a given season, a team will be invited by the American Mock Trial Association to attend a regional tournament followed by the open round championships. If a team is successful during the open round championships, they will be allowed to compete in the national championship which will take place in April.
Every school that competes for the mock trial championship is ranked by the American Mock Trial Association based on their previous performances in both the open round championships and national championship. As of this writing, UConn’s Mock Trial society is ranked 126 which is the same as the University of Arizona. This is out of 2,000 schools who compete in mock trials.
On Oct. 24 and 25, the UConn Mock Trial Society hosted “The Third Annual New England Classic,” a virtual tournament which took place through Zoom and featured competitors from schools such as Princeton University, Dartmouth College and Seton Hall University.
“We had four trials that took place over the weekend and every single trial started an hour late,” Lasher said.
The Mock Trial Society did not put any team for competition during the tournament this year. Seton Hall won the tournament.