Mock Trial Strategy & Practice
Fall Term 2020-2021
2 (2 Contact, 0 Field)
Full Year Course:
Special Permission Enrollment Courses - Enrollment in this course requires special permission. See the enrollment information for the section or contact the Registrar
for more information.
In the first year of the class, new students will focus on basic aspects of trial practice and strategy in order to be prepared to participate as members of the competitive mock trial team in the Spring. Depending on availability and space, students successfully completing the Fall class will be assigned to various roles on the mock trial teams. Students will not be guaranteed specific roles or competitions, but can be assigned various roles including trial lawyer, witness or associate trial lawyer. Preference will be given based upon performance in the Fall class, spots available, competitive strategy and need. In the second year of the class, returning students may be assigned to mock trial teams for Fall competitions. If so, the focus of their work in the Fall semester will relate specifically to those competitions. Additionally, returning students will engage in more advanced class problems and will be expected to take on mentoring responsibilities for the newer team members. Students are eligible for one moot court activity credit for competition-related work during the semester that they are competing. This activity credit is separate from the two academic credits designated for this course and is subject to the overall cap on activities for credit. Inclusion and assignment on the mock trial teams depends upon the number of teams accepted by the various competitions around the country. As such the number of positions available is beyond the control of the professors and as such positions and assignments on the team cannot be guaranteed, but only students successfully completing the first year of the course can participate.
Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory (ungraded) course Students will be evaluated on in-class performance, presentations of examinations and statements, and quizzes on the practical application of the Rules of Evidence.
This is a performance and presentation-based course that serves as the intensive training component for the law school’s Mock Trial Team. The course covers the mechanics of trials with a focus on preparation for interscholastic trial advocacy competitions. Enrollment is by permission from the professor only. Students can qualify based on a tryout. In addition, the previous year’s top two finishers in the law school’s internal trial competition will qualify automatically for the course, presuming they have not graduated. This program is a two year commitment. If you are accepted as a member of the Mock Trial Team, you will automatically be eligible to participate in the course for the following year upon successful completion of the course in the first year.
Topics in the course include development of case theory, effective advocacy skills, appropriate professional conduct, and trial preparation. Students will present direct and cross examinations of lay and expert witnesses, opening statements, and closing arguments, and will introduce evidentiary exhibits with appropriate foundation. A significant portion of the course will be devoted to a review of both the Federal and Pennsylvania Rules of Evidence, with special emphasis on trial evidence.
Returning Third Year students will focus on preparation for both Fall and Spring competitions. In that respect they will learn advanced trial techniques as applicable to the competitions. This will include working with actual experts, one on one video analysis of performance and specific, case related issues.
Mock Trial Strategy & Practice