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. Seven 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, 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 its division at the national championship last year and made its third appearance in the national final round. It 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 47 tournaments—nearly half of those it has attended. Virginia Mock Trial has won its regional tournament for seven out of the last ten years and its super regional for four out of the last five.
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 eight years, including 2015-2016. The “B” team has also enjoyed success on its own, with 14 tournament wins, three top ten National finishes, and five All-American awards.
The 2015-16 season was one of the most successful in recent program history. Virginia Mock Trial competed at eight tournaments, of which it won three and placed in the top five at the others, with a combined total of 104 ballots won. The program qualified two teams to the National Championship Tournament, leading to its 13th consecutive appearance at nationals. The program had its best finish in a decade, with the “A” team winning its division and competing the National Championship Trial. Ten different program members combined for 34 individual awards, and nine program members (including two first years!) were named All-Americans.