What is mock trial?
It's a competitive extracurricular activity where teams of 6-8 people compete against other schools in 3-hour trials. Students play the roles of attorneys and witnesses, both of which are scored. All competitors learn about the law, courtroom procedures, and the rules of evidence, as well as public speaking and critical thinking skills.
We practice in courtrooms at the Law School and compete in tournaments throughout the country. Three of the tournaments we attended last year were held in courthouses and several of our rounds were judged by actual judges.
Who competes for Virginia Mock Trial?
Virginia Mock Trial is open to all undergraduates. Anyone with experience with theater, debate, or any sort of public speaking is encouraged to try out, although no previous experience is necessary. We always have a diverse range of majors represented, from Foreign Affairs to Classics to Physics to Computer Science. All are welcome!
Former members of Virginia Mock Trial currently are attending law school at Harvard, Yale, Chicago, Columbia, Stanford, Duke, and U.Va. Our alumni have worked as lawyers, law clerks to federal judges, bankers, teachers, management consultants, software engineers, and speechwriters in cities including Atlanta, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, and Washington, DC.
You could be next! Try-outs will be held in late August. For more information, please see the recruitment page.
How successful is Mock Trial at UVa?
Very. Virginia Mock Trial has finished in the top three in the country for each of the past four years. Before the 2018-19 season, Virginia Mock Trial won the national championship in 2006, 2007, and 2017 and came a single ballot away from appearing in the national final round in 2005, 2010, 2011, and 2013 as well. In total, Virginia Mock Trial 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 four out of the last seven.
A central feature of Virginia Mock Trial is its depth. The program's "B" team has outplaced the "A" team at a tournament at least once for nine out of the last eleven years. The “B” team has also enjoyed success on its own, with 16 tournament wins, four top ten National finishes, and seven All-American awards.
The 2018-19 season was a very successful competitive season. Virginia Mock Trial competed at ten tournaments, of which it won five and placed at the others, with a combined total of 104 ballots won. The program qualified a team to the National Championship Tournament, leading to its 16th consecutive appearance at nationals. The “A” team finished second in their division and third nationally. Nine different program members combined for 24 individual awards.