Mock Trial

By Brooke Knudtson, EPPS Freshman

Mock Trial at UT Dallas, coached by Michael Gunnin, is currently recruiting new members for the 2013-2014 school year. Now in its seventh year, this extracurricular activity, hosted by the Pre-Law Advising and Resource Center, offers students a chance to simulate a trial by acting as either witnesses or attorneys. This competitive activity gives students of all majors a chance to practice skills such as public speaking, critical thinking, acting, and much more. This fairly new program has done incredibly well over the past couple of years in competitions. UT Dallas Mock Trial regularly places in the top five at invitational tournaments in Texas, such as the one hosted by Baylor University. In four of the past five years, a UT Dallas team has advanced from the regional level of competition to the Opening Round Championship Series (or "super-regional" level).

UT Dallas is the only university in the state that has a Mock Trial team, a Moot Court team, and a Mediation team. Mock Trial teams vary in size but typically include approximately 20 students participating on one of three teams made up of about seven members each. Each year, every university is given a case packet containing evidence and affidavits for the current case. Every other year, the case is a criminal matter, with civil cases in alternating years. This year’s case is a civil case involving a death during a scuba diving expedition. The estate of the deceased is suing the company that organized the expedition, alleging recklessness in allowing the dive in question to take place. At each tournament, each team represents the plaintiff in two rounds and the defendant in two rounds.

Mock Trial is a great opportunity for anyone involved in pre-law and for any student who is remotely interested in pursuing a career in law. Mock Trial is also open to non-pre-law students, especially students with an interest in theater. The program meets on Wednesdays from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. (and each team also holds weekly, two-hour team meetings). Questions about how to join the team or attend a meeting should be directed to Michael Gunnin at mgunnin@utdallas.edu.