Commonly Asked Questions
WHAT ARE WE LOOKING FOR?
We are looking for smart, dedicated and talented people. Typically this includes individuals with public speaking experience, an interest in trial work and/or acting experience. Mock Trial is a great activity for students with pre-law interest, but that is by no means a pre-requisite! On our team we have future lawyers, engineers, politicians, doctors, and businesspeople.
HOW MUCH TIME DOES MOCK TRIAL REQUIRE?
The time that is required changes throughout the year, and from person to person. You can expect to meet at least once or twice per week, either to prepare case materials, attend administrative meetings, etc. In preparation for major competitions, members will meet several times a week and are expected to work outside of regularly scheduled practices both individually and in pairs. That being said, our program is 100% student run. Practice and scrimmage schedules will be designed around the schedules and conflicts of team members. We will generally compete in 2-3 tournaments on weekends throughout each semester.
CAN I BE INVOLVED IN MOCK TRIAL AND OTHER EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES?
Most definitely! Almost all of our members participate in other extracurricular activities and/or do internships in tandem with mock trial. We have had members involved in Model UN, Parliamentary Debate, the West Philadelphia Tutoring Project, Greek Life, The Daily Pennsylvanian, SAC, the Undergraduate Assembly, Shabbatones, Penn HYPE, PennYo, Glee Club, and the John Marshall Pre-Law Honor Society, just to name a few.
DO I NEED MOCK TRIAL EXPERIENCE?
Absolutely not. Many members of the Penn team had no prior mock trial experience prior to joining our program.
HOW DO I JOIN?
Tryouts are held in early September. We will hold an information sessions in the fall where we will describe the specifics of the tryout procedure. You will be given a small portion of a case and what you do during your tryout is dependent on whether you're trying out to be an attorney, witness or both.
If you're trying out as a witness, you will be asked to learn a particular witness statement and testify on behalf of a particular party in the case (plaintiff/prosecution or defense.) You will be asked questions during a direct examination and a cross examination. During these examinations, you will be asked to add some character to the witness role. Think foreign accents and characters from your favorite movies or TV shows.
If you're trying out as an attorney (or for both roles), you will first tryout as a witness answering questions during a direct examination. Same character rules apply. Afterwards, you will give a cross examination of the witness you just played (the witness will be played by a current team member). We strongly recommend that you prepare some questions for the cross examination in advance of your audition.
You can learn more about auditions and begin to prepare by visiting our Fall 2018 Auditions page.
HOW CAN I PREPARE FOR THE TRYOUT?
Once you have the tryout materials, the best thing to do is learn what you're given and develop some strong witness characters. We love to be entertained! A great witness character is just as fun to watch as a strong cross examination or opening statement. We'll provide you with some guidance during the information session. We'll also hold optional "office hours" the day before tryouts begin so that you can come ask our President (Roy Michael Roman) or VP External Affairs (Katie Bontje) any further questions you have about tryouts or Mock Trial in general.