HOW DO I RUSH YALE MOCK TRIAL?

HOW DO I RUSH YALE MOCK TRIAL?

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WHAT IS MOCK TRIAL?

Mock Trial is a competitive activity that combines the arts of public speaking, debating, and acting all into one. In Mock Trial, teams simulate a real trial, which requires them to interpret legal cases, think analytically, speak persuasively, and portray witnesses compellingly. At the beginning of each year, AMTA, the American Mock Trial Association, releases a nationwide case that is used for the rest of the season. Seasons usually begin in September and end in April. Competitions consist of four rounds of trial; each round consists of two to three judges that score each team’s performance. Teams consist of at least six people – three attorneys and three witnesses – that are able to argue both the prosecution and the defense theories of a case. To prepare for tournaments, team members develop case theories, practice speeches, prepare direct and cross-examinations, and develop witness characters.

WHAT IS MOCK TRIAL LIKE AT YALE?

Mock Trial at Yale adds two extra elements to speaking, debating, and acting: winning and having a darn good time. Since 2016, we have been ranked 1st in the nation. There are about 30 members in the YMTA, and we’re one of the closest groups of friends on campus. Each year, the association splits up into 3 to 4 teams that travel and compete throughout the nation. We have attended invitationals at Columbia, Georgetown, UPenn, Penn State, Harvard, Cornell, UCLA, UVA, NYU, Tufts, Vanderbilt, Brandeis, and the Coast Guard Academy.

IS YALE MOCK TRIAL A BIG TIME COMMITMENT?

It is if you want it to be. We require about 8 hours per week from our members during a regular week, but how much time you want to commit beyond that is up to you. Yale’s trial teams are separated into 3 or 4 different teams, based in part on the amount of time members of that team are willing to commit per week. Team A, for example, will require the most amount of commitment, while Team D will require the least amount of hours per week from its members, who might be heavily involved in other academic or extracurricular activities. Most of our members have other commitments, ranging from Greek Life to a cappella to theater to debate. The most competitive teams at Yale will begin meeting in September and will end their season in April, having attended 6-7 tournaments throughout the year (tournaments last one full weekend).

AM I AT A DISADVANTAGE IN THE TRYOUT PROCESS IF I HAVE NO PRIOR MOCK EXPERIENCE?

Absolutely not. No prior experience with Mock Trial is necessary. We are looking for people who enjoy public speaking, acting, arguing, traveling, or simply those who are looking for a good time. Some of our members had never even heard of Mock Trial prior to coming to Yale, while other members have had four years of high school Mock Trial experience. YMTA is home to a wide variety of students, from Chemistry to Political Science to Film Studies majors.

I HAVE PRIOR HIGH SCHOOL MOCK TRIAL EXPERIENCE AND AM THINKING ABOUT RUSHING. WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HIGH SCHOOL AND COLLEGE MOCK?

Most of the format of high school Mock Trial remains the same in college, although there are some differences. The AMTA case packet is lengthier than the high school packet, with additional exhibits, longer affidavits, and more witnesses to choose from. The Rules of Evidence are also more complex and the arguments are more sophisticated in a college trial. Opening and closing arguments are also longer, at 5 and 9 minutes. The witness selection process is also different. While in high school the case packet provides a permanent set of witnesses per side, in college one witness can be called by either the Prosecution or the Defense. This allows for more interesting and dynamic trials. Even those with experience in high school find that they always have more ways to learn about the law by participating in college Mock Trial.

WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I AM BEING ATTACKED BY A SHARK?

If for any reason you find that you are being attacked by a shark, there are several steps you should take to increase your chance of survival. Firstly, don’t take your eyes off the shark. Get into a defensive position. If you must fight back against the shark, aim for its eyes, nose, or gills. If you don’t have a weapon, use an inanimate object, like a rock or a camera, to ward it off. Make sure not to thrash. Thrashing only attracts sharks and disperses your blood. Swim breaststroke to the nearest area of land and get medical attention.