Center for High Achievement & Scholarly Engagement
Pre-Graduate and Pre-Professional Advising

Mock Trial FAQs

What is Mock Trial? ~ Show Answer

Mock Trial is an extra-curricular activity for students at the undergraduate level that promotes understanding of the trial advocacy. Students simulate a trial by acting as the attorneys and witnesses in a competitive setting.

What is AMTA? ~ Show Answer

AMTA stands for the American Mock Trial Association. According to the A.M.T.A. web site, "The idea was to give undergraduate students an opportunity to learn first hand about the work of trial attorneys, understand the judicial system, develop critical thinking, and enhance communication skills." The A.M.T.A. is responsible for providing a fictitious case, which alternates each year between a civil and a criminal action, for intercollegiate competition at the regional and national level.

How much of a time commitment is required for Mock Trials? ~ Show Answer

The time commitments for Mock Trial are two-fold. First, there is time committed to spending a weekend at each competition. The Butler Mock Trial Team generally goes to two competitions a year. The first is an A.M.T.A. sanctioned practice or scrimmage tournament. In the past, Butler's team has gone to the University of Dayton for the practice tournament. Then the team goes to the regional tournament in mid-February. The team has the possibility of qualifying for nationals in either the silver or championship flights. This is in addition to weekly meetings of the team from early fall until the close of competition in February or March.

What takes place during a competition? ~ Show Answer

Tournaments have four trials over a two-day period. During this time, each team acts as both the plaintiff/prosecution and the defense. For the first round of the tournament, the teams that compete against each other are drawn at random. After that, each round of the tournament is power matched. In other words, teams of equal records are matched up. The points accumulated in each round determine the team's record.

What takes place during a practice? ~ Show Answer

During a practice, the team goes over basic courtroom procedure, such as giving opening and closing arguments, examining witnesses, presenting evidence, and making objections. The team also examines and develops strategy for the case at hand.

Who participates in Mock Trail? ~ Show Answer

Just as people from various majors and backgrounds attend law school, people from every segment of the university curriculum participate in Mock Trial. Butler's Mock Trial Team currently has students majoring in accounting, English, engineering, international management, political science, psychology, and Spanish. Freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors alike are involved in the Mock Trial experience.

How many people are on a Mock Trial Team? ~ Show Answer

According to A.M.T.A. rules, a team must have between six and eight people. The team must have three attorneys for both the plaintiff/prosecution and defense sides. Additionally, the team must have three witnesses for both sides. A school may field multiple teams if a larger number of students are interested in competing.