“Individual commitment to a group effort - that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work- ." ~Vince Lombardi
Do You Have What it Takes?
Mock Trial is not a team solely for aspiring attorneys, but rather a team for anyone interested in one of the many facets of mock trial. Mock Trial is an organization made up of those who want to be attorneys, love to act, and have a general interest in the inner workings of the legal system.
What is Mock Trial?
Each year the American Mock Trial Association releases a case for competition, this case includes witness affidavits, pieces of evidence and a general case summary. College students then, in teams of 6-8 members (As of the 2007/2008 year Fordham expanded to 4 teams), prepare the case for presentation, taking on the roles of witnesses and attorneys. A presentation must be prepared for both the prosecution/plaintiff and the defense using the materials provided by AMTA. The teams then attend various competitions where they argue the case against teams from other universities. At a typical competition, each team will participate in 4 rounds, presenting the prosecution's case twice and the defense's case twice.
What are the Roles Within a Team?
Each team consists of 8-10 members: 3 members who are attorneys, anywhere from 3-6 members who take on the role(s) of various witnesses, and 1-2 alternates. In competition, however, only 3 witnesses compete per round. To each competition, Fordham sends all four individual teams, to represent the entire Fordham University Mock Trial team.
What Happens During a Competition?
During a Mock Trial competition, a team will be designated to litigate for the prosecution or the defense. Of the lawyers on each team, one is required to present the team’s opening statement and another is required to present the closing statement. Each of the 3 attorneys is also required to perform 1 direct and 1 cross examination. The witnesses participating in the competition are then required to answer their attorney’s direct examination questions and the opposing team’s cross-examination questions.
Every element of the trial has a strict time limit. Opening statements have a 5 minute maximum, and closing statements have a 9 minute maximum. The 1-2 members not participating in the actual round will often serve as time keepers. Each round of competition has a maximum time limit of approximately 3 hours. Each round is presided over by 2 judges who score each participat based on performance and 1 judge who rules on objections.
Each participant (attorney and witness) is scored out of 10 points . Attorneys are scored and ranked based on their opening/closing statements, as well as their direct/cross examinations. Witnesses are scored and ranked based on their performances during their direct/cross examinations. The team scoring the greatest total number of points wins the round; though the judges may give their personal opinion on a verdict, this opinion has no bearing on the winner of the round.
How Do I Join?
Each year, during the fall, we take on new members that we consider an invaluable addition to our team. To become a new member you must attend the Fordham Mock Trial Team information sessions and tryouts. If you miss the tryout date and desire to join the team midsemester, you can still join the team as a begginning alternate.
To get on the mailing list to be informed of the information session and tryout dates, or for more information contact the Mock Trial President Christopher Darcy at firstname.lastname@example.org.