Fall 2013 Try-Out Information
Come visit Virginia Mock Trial at the 2013 Activities Fair on Monday, August 26 on the south end of the Lawn!
We'll answer all your questions, and you can sign up for a tryout time.
- Tuesday, August 27
- Wednesday, August 28
- Thursday, August 29
If you can't attend any of these info sessions, please contact the Tryout Coordinator, Ellen for information on how to sign up for a tryout slot.
Tryouts require absolutely no 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!
Tryouts will take place at the following times:
- Friday, August 30
- Saturday, August 31
- Sunday, September 1
Step 1: Sign up for a tryout slot
If you missed our info sessions, you can sign up here. If no timeslots work, please contact Ellen to schedule a different time.
Step 2: Download the tryout packet
All of the information you'll need for tryout preparation is included in the packet. Have fun, and be creative!
Step 3: Fill out tryout questionnaire
The last step is filling out this form, which will help us 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, upperclass
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 eight tournaments per year. This season, we're already planning trips to California, Florida, and Washington, DC, among others.
Virginia Mock Trial won the national championship in 2006 and 2007 and came a single ballot from appearing in the national final round in 2005, 2010, 2011, and 2013 as well. Since Fall 2005, our program has won 36 tournaments‚ more than half of those it has attended. Virginia Mock Trial has won its regional tournament for seven out of the last eight years and its super regional for five years straight. Our competitors have won 137 individual awards during the last five years. We've also had 10 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.