Mock Trial (noun): a ridiculously fun activity where you dress up in suits, travel across the country, and pretend to be a lawyer or a witness; verb: to mock
Audrey Glaser (PO ’16) wrote an awesome post about this a couple years ago (she’s now Madame President of Pomona College Mock Trial) that you should check out for a description of what exactly we do. To add a little update to what Audrey said in her post, we won the state that year and placed 12th at nationals! Last year, we had not one, but two teams make it out of regionals to the next level of competition. Our team really does get stronger every year.
For those who didn’t read Audrey’s post, a brief summary: at the beginning of the school year, a case (with all available facts, witnesses, etc., in a single packet) is assigned. We prepare statements and witness testimony based on this packet. This year’s case is about a casino owner who (allegedly) bribes a government official to get a license to operate a second casino. Scandalous!
I want to spend most of this post, though, talking about what being on the mock trial team has meant to me, rather than what the event itself is. When my hands aren’t full trying to keep my life from falling apart, I sometimes think about how lucky I am to be a part of such an amazing group of people. I actually kind of stumbled into mock trial my first year completely on accident. I was a high school debater, and I wanted to keep doing public speaking but also try something new. I saw flyers around school advertising mock trial and decided to try out. By some miracle, I made it past auditions and onto the team. (That’s not a humble brag; I was actually a terrible high school debater.)
I’m so glad I made it onto mock trial, though, because I’ve gotten so much out of it. I’ve met some of my favorite people at Pomona through mock trial. Everyone on the team is witty, funny, and just all around a good time. Even when we aren’t battling object arguments or practicing how to be the perfect sassy witness, we still hang out and do fun things together. I suppose it also doesn’t hurt that the team throws some great parties.
On the more serious side, mock trial has also allowed me to become a better speaker and writer. I’m always thinking now about something’s relevance and relying on sufficient facts and data. (That was a mock trial joke – wow, I’m such a nerd.) Even if you don’t have any public speaking experience, it isn’t a problem. The team teaches you everything you need to know about mock trial, and on top of that, helps you build the confidence you need to give a convincing argument.
Most importantly, I’ve gotten to be a part of an incredibly fun activity. Yes, the classes at Pomona are amazing. Just as amazing, though, are the many clubs and organizations we have on campus, and the way they enable you to find other people that are just as quirky and passionate about something as you are. Sure, I have to give up a couple weekends each semester, but what could be more fun than trekking to Arizona or the Bay Area and arguing with people you’ve never met in your entire life? Seriously though, if you end up finding yourself at Pomona, trying out for mock trial will be a decision you won’t regret. I know I haven’t.