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Benefits of Debate or Mock Trial

Almost_ThereAlmost_There Posts: 75Registered User Junior Member
edited August 2005 in Law School
Ok, so I know that most of LS admissions are best on LSAT scores and GPA, and I know that doing ECs "can't hurt" in the application process, but can doing an activity like debate or mock trial uniquely increase chances of admission? I've spent a couple years involved in collegiate debate, which requires extensive research and skills of argumentation, communication, and analysis. I've enjoyed it, but if law schools don't notice its relevancy, there are other ways I can spend my time. I did mock trial in high school, and the school I've just transferred to is home to the defending national champions of the collegiate circuit. Is this incentive enough to commit to mock trial? Would either activity stand out more than others in the application process?

I'd like to evaluate this purely on the basis of competitiveness. I understand the importance of the "college experience" and staying true to my interests, but I would truthfully be just as happy doing mock trial, debate, or spending my time pursuing other things. I'm majoring in poli sci, minoring in public policy, planning on spending a quarter in DC, and committed to undergraduate research to renew a scholarship. With these things in mind, what would you recommend?

Thanks!
Post edited by Almost_There on

Replies to: Benefits of Debate or Mock Trial

  • kfc4ukfc4u Posts: 3,415Registered User Senior Member
    you transferred to UCLA? cuz they're the two-time defending national champions in college mock trial.

    their team captain got into yale law school. of course i dont know what his stats are, but i'm pretty sure being team captain of the national championship mock trial team was a big booster.
  • slicmlic2001slicmlic2001 Posts: 1,445Registered User Senior Member
    u know, im considering the same thing- so i feel it necessary for me to throw in my two cents.


    in high school i was insanely involved in Mock Trial...i went to a law and government magnet high school, and mock trial was second to religion in the magnet...we placed in the top 3 three out of the 4 years i was in the mock trial program.

    but i have to honestly say that as i look back, i sort of regret the time and energy i devoted to mock trial. sure, i learned a lot of things, things that werent taught in the classroom and such- but u have to take into consideration the opportunity cost of being on the mock trial team. i personally believe that if i had taken the time that i spent in mock trial, and did some other activity(s), i would have been more successful in the college admissions process. unless you're going to be the team captain for the national championship mock trial team, perhaps look into other less generic clubs that might set you apart from the pack. there are tons of students across the country that do mock trial, so it might be in your best interest to do something more suited to your tastes. as ariestara said on a previous thread, law school admissions seems like its become the evaluation of poli sci majors...and while it is true that if you're an excellent political science student, or mock trial participant- you will be rewarded....but if not, why not do something that rewards the time you devote to mock trial? I'm 100% sure that if you start some sort of original club or activity that reflects your personality or your life's goals- you'll be in a much better position than some mock trialer. Remember, in the arena of competition, especially in the country we live in- nobody remembers second or third place. So unless you're going to be the best at it, i suggest doing something else.

    i dunno, i may be off on this whole subject...just wanted to share a bit of information that i wish i had known a little sooner...but o well...the friendships and experiences i learned in mock trial will forever be remembered, so...i guess u should just take what i said with a grain of salt, but keep it in mind before you jump into mock trial and devote 20 hours out of the week writing your cross-examinations.

    Cheers :)
  • slicmlic2001slicmlic2001 Posts: 1,445Registered User Senior Member
    bummp...anyone have any ideas on this? I wanna know if I've come to the right conlcusion or not...outside opinions would help a great deal :)
  • jonrijonri Posts: 5,117Registered User Senior Member
    I'm not sure either activity will help you that much in terms of impressing LS admissions officers if you are only an average debater or mock trial participant. If you are a *star* it will help. However, they are both great activities and many lawyer wannabes participate. I also think it would be a great way to make friends as a transfer student.

    Anyone who spends all 4 years of college doing either is guaranteed to know a lot of his/her classmates at any top 14 LS. I recently met a young woman who is a UCLA grad and will begin Harvard Law this year. She was a debater at UCLA. ( I mention that because I assume Almost There is going to UCLA.)

    If you look at the *best* debaters/mock trial participants, you'll see the law school *stars*. I know that several recent SCOTUS clerks were debaters and when I look at the list of Harvard Law Review members, I recognize a LOT of high school/college debate *stars*. For example, Brian Fletcher, the current president of the HLS Law Review, was a star high school and college debater--for Valley (Iowa) and Yale.

    It's not clear from your message which type of debate you've done. Back in the Iron Age, I did policy, but I've become a big fan of parli(amentary). It's less time consuming. If you currently do policy, you might consider a switch to parli.
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