Mock Trial claims a record-breaking season

By Sophie Foster
Copy Editor

Though Washington College’s mock trial team is only a few years old, in its two years of existence, it’s gone from a 1-7 program to a 7-1 program, according to senior Holly Williams, the team’s outgoing president and co-founder. 

This year, the team amassed a significant number of successes, including three finishes in the top five of competitions, 15 individual awards for best attorney and best witness, and a third place tied regional score with the University of Chicago and Cornell University — two top-ranked programs in the nation — that earned them a bid to the Opening Rounds Championships. 

According to the Tab Summary shared by Cowtown Classic, a tournament hosted by the University of California, Davis in 2021, Williams was named Best Attorney and junior Jack Goembel was named Best Witness at the tournament. 

Additionally, WC’s team was awarded fourth place overall at the competition, beating contenders such as Stanford University, which scored fifth. 

The most important thing for students to know about mock trial is that it doesn’t exist exclusively for students studying in the pre-law track. 

“It’s for anyone who enjoys debate, logic, writing, public speaking, or acting,” Williams said. 

On the Mock Trial team, students can either serve in the role of the attorney or a witness. As an attorney, they are tasked with constructing lines of questioning, potentially delivering an opening or closing statement, and analyzing the academic year’s assigned case, which may be civil or criminal. 

As a witness, they are instead asked to deliver a performance assigned to them in this role, which requires them to recite lines and respond to questions posed by attorneys, all while remaining in character. Teams may be asked to argue as either the defense or the prosecution/plaintiff. 

According to the American Mock Trial Association website, “through engaging in trial simulations in competition with teams from other institutions, students develop critical thinking and public speaking skills, as well as a knowledge of legal practices and procedures.”

In addition to “serving as the governing body for intercollegiate mock trial competition,” the WC Mock Trial chapter is one of 700 teams from 400 colleges and universities across the country, containing “over 7,300 undergraduate students each academic year” eligible to compete in several national and regional competitions per season, according to the AMTA website. 

The goals of WC’s team going forward largely center around increasing student engagement, according to Williams. In the fall 2022 semester, the team plans to meet once again every week on Wednesdays. They also hope to involve more pre-law students with immersive tour days at Drexel University and American University’s law schools in Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., respectively, which will include lunches with law students and shadowing courses. 

Students who are interested in learning more about the College’s team can attend the interest meeting, which will be held in the Hodson Egg on Wednesday, April 27 at 7 p.m. Free Phat Daddy’s barbecue will be provided. 

Questions about the team can be directed to Williams at hwilliams3@washcoll.edu or senior Armani Banks at abanks3@washcoll.edu.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.