Mock Trial Strategies

Introduction to Mock Trial

1875 engraving  by D. H. Friston of Gilbert and Sullivan’s Trial by Jury at the Royalty Theater

Overview

Mock Trial is a high school and collegiate competition in which teams from different schools try cases against one other. The competition is held throughout the United States in state and federal courthouses, colleges, and universities. Judges, attorneys and educators volunteer their skill, time and energy to make this competition possible.

What does a Mock Trial look like?

2011 National College Championship - UCLA v. NYU (13 minute remix)

2016 Pennsylvania State Championship (10 minute remix)

2016 Pennsylvania Bar Association Finals (1 hour 18 minutes)

2014-2017 Oregon Final Rounds (4 full Mock Trials)

Sample Roster and Roles

Trial Sequence and Time Limits

The time limits for each competition may vary slightly based on the competition and jurisdiction.  The following is an example of what these could look like:

Each side has 43 minutes to present its case, which, allowing for introductory matters, arguing objections, judges deliberations, and preliminary matters would make each round approximately 1 hour 40 minutes.

The trial sequence and time limits are as follows: 

  1. Introductory matters – 5 minutes total (conducted by judge)
  2. Opening statement – 5 minutes per side 
  3. Direct and redirect (optional) – 22 minutes per side
  4. Cross and re-cross (optional) – 11 minutes per side 
  5. Closing argument – 5 minutes per side*  
  6. Judges’ deliberations – 10 minutes total (judges in private)

*Prosecution may reserve time for rebuttal at the beginning of closing argument.

** Each side may make objections during the direct and cross examinations. The time taken making and arguing these objections is not counted against a side’s overall time.  Objections are not allowed during opening statements or closing arguments.

What does the Mock Trial Material look like?

Sample Mock Trial Case

Sample Mock Trial Rules

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