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 won the national championship last year after making its fourth appearance in the national final round. Before the 2016-17 season, Virginia Mock Trial won the national championship in 2006 and 2007 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 50 tournaments—nearly half of those it has attended. Virginia Mock Trial has won its regional tournament for eight out of the last eleven years and its super regional for five out of the last four.
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 seven out of the last nine years. The “B” team has also enjoyed success on its own, with 14 tournament wins, four top ten National finishes, and seven All-American awards.
The 2016-17 season was one of the most successful in recent program history. Virginia Mock Trial competed at ten tournaments, of which it won three and placed at the others, with a combined total of 103 ballots won. The program qualified two teams to the National Championship Tournament, leading to its 14th consecutive appearance at nationals. The program had its best finish in a decade, with the “A” team winning the National Championship, and the “B” team placing in the top ten nationally for the first time since 2011. Fourteen different program members combined for 33 individual awards, and nine program members (including a first year!) were named All-Americans.