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Mock Trial Team: Useful?

CalvinTBODCalvinTBOD Posts: 869Registered User Member
edited March 2011 in Law School
Well I've wanted to be a lawyer for some time now, and my brother said that it would look good for graduate law school admissions if I was part of the Mock Trial Team in college. He said I should also join my high school's mock trial team so I can get prepared (apparently the college team is much more competitive).

The question I have is, is it really that important? Does it really help lawyers in the future? Most stuff you learn in high school and college that pertains to law is fairly useless (law electives, political science, pre-law major, etc), so I was kind of iffy about this one. And not only that, does it really matter if you were in the mock trial team or not? I thought law schools were big on the whole "course diversity" aspect, with a lot of Engineering and Physics majors attending law schools.

I've never tried it, but I'm pretty sure I'd have real fun if I joined my high school team at least, whether I end up being a lawyer or not. I'm currently in my school's Ethics Team, so I have experience in debate/public speaking/critical thinking/etc.
Post edited by CalvinTBOD on

Replies to: Mock Trial Team: Useful?

  • zaprowsdowerzaprowsdower Posts: 213Registered User Junior Member
    It's not important or helpful at all, either for getting into law school or being a lawyer. That's not to say you shouldn't do it if you want to, but it has zero value for law school admissions, so there's no reason to feel like you should do it.
  • CalvinTBODCalvinTBOD Posts: 869Registered User Member
    Okay. Because Ethics Club is actually a lot of work too. Thanks! :P

    I'm still open for other inputs - did anyone actually feel like they benefited from being part of a high school or a college Mock Trial team?
  • lskinnerlskinner Posts: 914Registered User Member
    I don't know much about law school admissions, but I would try to avoid looking like a gunner.
  • IvyPBearIvyPBear Posts: 917Registered User Member
    Unless you would enjoy it, don't do it, since it wouldn't help during law school admissions.
  • CalvinTBODCalvinTBOD Posts: 869Registered User Member
    Well I realize that it won't help during admissions. If anything, I wanted to do it for fun (my best friend's doing it and she says it's awesome) and for the fact that it might help me as an actual lawyer in the future. Are there any lawyers here that was in the Mock Trial team in high school and/or college?
  • bluedevilmikebluedevilmike Posts: 11,964Registered User Senior Member
    The activity, if anything, might harm you slightly in law school admissions (see #4) but I think that effect would be very slight. It also won't be hardly anything like real practice as a lawyer, which requires hardly any time in the courtroom even for litigators. (Even litigators or prosecutors or defense attorneys spend the vast majority of their time in preparation and negotiations for settlement.)

    With that said, I suspect it's VERY fun and gives you a chance to polish some skills that will be useful for life in general -- public speaking, etc. Being a lawyer doesn't particularly require those skills, but it certainly doesn't particularly NOT require them either.
  • CalvinTBODCalvinTBOD Posts: 869Registered User Member
    Hrm, I think I'm going to opt out of Mock Trial. Because as I mentioned before, Ethics Club encompasses a lot of similar public speaking and critical thinking skills. And it's a lot of work.

    And to join the Mock Trial team, we have to take an elective course regarding legal studies. And for me to do that I'd have to give up my planned elective of Broadcast Journalism, which I was actually really excited about. :P

    I did go to one of the Mock Trial meets though. It was super intense and fun to watch, despite the fact that our school lost.

    Thank you all for helping with my annoying questions! :3
  • dheldrethdheldreth Posts: 120Registered User Junior Member
    If you do it, do it because it's fun. My D is a 1L student. She did mock trial in high school, college, and just won a 1L closing argument competition and will be on her law school mock trial team next year. She does it because she likes the competition, she likes the travel, she is really good at it - and she thinks it is fun. She has said it has helped her in some of her classes, but as the other posters said, it is of no benefit for law school admission.
  • jonrijonri Posts: 5,216Registered User Senior Member
    I disagree with Mike--it doesn't hurt you in LS admissions. It doesn't really help all that much, but it doesn't hurt either. ECs aren't really all that important in LS admissions.

    It MIGHT help in college admissions. I don't know what kind of HS the OP attends, but one good thing about things like model UN, mock trial, debate, extemp, etc. is that you compete with other schools. All of these teach useful skills. If you are GOOD at them at a "beyond the high school" way, it helps you in college admissions in a way that being good in "Ethics Club" probably doesn't, at least if that activity is limited to your high school.

    BTW, mock trial participation as a witness is a good credential for young actors, believe it or not.

    If you're excited about the broadcast journalism elective, though, do that.
  • CalvinTBODCalvinTBOD Posts: 869Registered User Member
    Our school's Ethics Team is probably more intense than our Mock Trial Team. Our Mock Trial Team is only limited to our county; pretty much because they were never strong enough to make it to the state round.

    Our Ethics Team has two competitions, one for Long Island (pretty much two counties) and another regional (the northeast states) competition at Steven's Institute of Technology.
  • kwukwu Posts: 4,759Registered User Senior Member
    High school debate is legit. College mock trial works, if it will have happened to be your one and only extracurricular. Otherwise, not worth the time and effort.
  • resuriresuri Posts: 1Registered User New Member
    I'm an attorney practicing on the island of Guam, but I'm also licensed to practice in California. I was in high school mock trial, totally skipped college mock trial (at UCBerkeley) and heavily participated in law school mock trial (at SUNY Buffalo). Can't speak for all mock trial programs, but the program I participated in changed my life. Not only did my public speaking/confidence drastically improve, it taught me to think on my feet. Most importantly, because the high school mock trial competition rules are excerpts from the Federal Rules of Evidence, I went to law school with a working knowledge of most Federal Rules. My evidence class was a breeze, and I was extremely competetive at law school mock trial. I went on to be an attorney, I'm in my fifth year of practice, and I'm coaching a team on Guam that is going to the national competition for the third consecutive year this May.
    My advice is to assess the quality of your local program. Do you have a good coach? Does your school take it seriously? It sounds from your posts that it does not.
    While it's true that you have to have the academic ability and reasoning skills to attend law school and graduate, if your ultimate goal is to become a TRIAL attorney, getting into court now, getting comfortable with legal terms and rules, and learning how to communicate with a jury and think on your feet, can only help you in the long run.

    Good luck with everthing.
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