Fall 2020 Try-Out Information
VaMT only recruits once a year, in the late August when students are arriving at UVA. Come visit Virginia Mock Trial at the virtual Activities Fair in 2020!
Each year we hold three information sessions. Learn a bit more about who we are and what we do, ask any questions, and sign up for a tryout time!
Tryout Dates and Locations will be determined closer to the start of the school year. Keep an eye out!
Tryouts don't require any prior experience with mock trial, law, or courtroom procedure.
You can try out to be both an attorney and a witness, and those interested are encouraged to do so!
Step 1: Sign up for a tryout slot
Sign up for a tryout slot on the "2020 Tryout Times" doc here! We'll upload this before tryouts this fall. If you have any questions, please contact James Orr.
Step 2: Download the tryout packet
All of the information you'll need for tryout preparation is included in the tryout packet. We typically release the tryout packet in mid-August. Have fun, and be creative!
Step 3:Fill out our tryout questionnaire
The last step is filling out the form posted here, so we can learn a little more about you!
What are we looking for?
You don't need any mock trial experience‚ many of our most successful competitors had none before they got to U.Va. You don't need to want to be a lawyer; our members go on to do all kinds of things, including medical and other grad school, teaching, engineering, banking, consulting, and working in politics. So what are we looking for?
- Any kind of public speaking/performing experience
- Actors (this year's case has 10 different witnesses to play)
- Experience working in a team environment
- A passion for and commitment to competing at the highest level
We have no age requirements. In fact, in the past, first-time, upperclassman
mockers have been some of our most successful.
We are looking to fill some key positions for witnesses vacated by graduated students, and are therefore especially on the look out for those with acting
What's in it for you?
What can you get out of joining Virginia Mock Trial? We're glad you asked. Mock
trial will teach you how to:
Dreamed of giving a closing argument to a packed courtroom? How about an objection battle with your (or their) whole case on the line? Or swatting away questions from the witness stand as one of their attorneys tries desperately to discredit your testimony? You'll get a chance to do all of those.
Mock trial cases have 9-12 witnesses from whom to choose and the opportunities for characters, costumes, and props are endless. In the last couple years, we’ve had people play weeping widows, police officers (in uniforms), remorseful criminals (in prison jumpsuits), retired bakers (in wigs), CSIs (with diagrams), Italian mechanics (diagrams again), German movie stars, British executives, and many, many others.
Mock trial isn't checkers, it's 3-D chess, and that means a million moving pieces to keep track of if you want to win. From permutations in witness line-ups, to working through how your team's theory of the case stacks up against other theories, to anticipating what evidence might be introduced and when, to making sure your team doesn't run out of time, your brain has to be firing on all cylinders‚ including ones you didn't know you had until it happens.
At the end of the day, a mock trial team wins because judges they've never seen before decide they like the product that team is selling better than the other team's. Like most things in life, winning in a courtroom can be as much about presentation as content, and mock trial will teach how to master both: everything from which gestures are most effective and which words have the most psychological impact to how to balance assertiveness as a zealous representative of your client with deference to the court. It's like marketing and business communication rolled into one, and you've got the best seat in the class.
Of course, competing for Virginia Mock Trial doesn't just give you skills. You'll also get:
Sure, you make friends doing any extracurricular activity. But mock trial is different. A mock trial team has just 6-8 people and there are only 14-16 students in the whole program, and you'll be seeing those people more often than it makes sense to estimate: practice, tournaments, and every conceivable event in between. Mock trial is also inherently addictive, meaning that, if you let it, it quickly becomes a lifestyle more than pretty much any other extracurricular. Some of your best friends will be in this program. Trust us, we know.
We compete in at least eight tournaments per year. Last season, we took trips to New York, Philadelphia, and Washington, DC, among others.
Virginia Mock Trial won the national championship in 2006, 2007, and 2017. We competed in the national final round in 2016, and came a single ballot from appearing in the national final round in 2005, 2010, 2011, 2013, and this past year in 2019 as well. In total, our program has won 58 tournaments‚ nearly half of those it has attended. Virginia Mock Trial has won its regional tournament for ten out of the last thirteen years and its super regional for five out of the last seven. Our competitors have won 230 individual awards in the last nine years. We've also had 18 different competitors named All-Americans during that same time span.
Don't think that just because it's your first year doing mock trial you won't be successful. We've had first-year competitors compete in the national final round and be named All-Americans. So dust off some shelf space. You'll probably need it.