Collegiate mock trial is a team-based activity that combines acting, writing, awareness of trial law, debate, problem solving, persuasion skills, winning, and friendship.
Mock Trial is a team-based speech competition that is practiced at every educational level, from middle school to graduate school. Participants in collegiate Mock Trial assume the roles of both attorneys and witnesses and compete against other schools around the country in a simulation of a criminal or civil trial. Cases alternate between criminal and civil cases each year. In Mock Trial, teams simulate a real trial, which requires them to interpret legal cases, think analytically, speak persuasively, and portray witnesses compellingly. Mock Trial is a competitive activity that combines the arts of public speaking, debating, and acting all into one. Competition for the entire academic year revolves around a single civil or criminal case, which is released by the American Mock Trial Association (AMTA) at the start of each season. Seasons usually begin in September and end in April.
Most competitions consist of four rounds, in which teams compete twice as Plaintiff/Prosecution and twice as Defense. Rounds last approximately three hours each, and tournaments are held over a period of two or three days on weekends. Each team consists of 6-10 members who play both the Prosecution/Plaintiff and Defense sides of the case. Each side of the case has a total of six roles, three attorneys and three witnesses. Some members play an attorney on both sides, a witness on both sides, or an attorney on one side and a witness on the other. To prepare for tournaments, team members develop case theories, practice speeches, prepare direct and cross-examinations, and develop witness characters. Throughout the trial, objections to both form and admissibility are common.
Mock Trial at UMass
Don't worry if you've never done Mock Trial before, we will teach you all the basics! We are looking for people who enjoy public speaking, acting, arguing, traveling, or simply those who are looking to enjoy themselves. Some of our members had never heard of Mock Trial prior to coming to UMass, while other members have had four years of high school Mock Trial experience. UMAMT is home to a wide variety of students, from Biochemistry to Legal Studies to Economics to Sport Management majors.
We are an entirely student-run organization. While we an excellent advisor, our Executive Board coordinates sign up, travel, lodging, and preparation for tournaments, balances our budget, and trains new members. We are one of the few Mock Trial teams in the country that is student-run, creating great learning opportunities and real life experience in many different aspects of running an organization.
Mock Trial at UMass Amherst adds two extra elements to speaking, debating, and acting: winning and having fun. We’re one of the closest groups of friends on campus. UMAMT is more than just another club: we're a family of individuals who love what we do. The goal is to have fun working together, to make lifelong friends, and to learn the true meaning of hard work on our pursuit to a National Championship.