Mock-Trial FAQ

Q. What is Mock Trial?
At Bowling Green Mock Trial is a group of students and faculty working together to accomplish several goals:

Develop our listening, presentation, and reasoning abilities
Represent our school in competitions with other universities in a fashion that enhances both our self-respect and our reputation as a group of diligent, fair competitors.  Experience the excitement and sense of fulfillment of working with competent teammates mutually struggling to achieve a community goal.

Q. How do I join the team?
You indicate to our coach, Neil Browne that you would like to tryout in the fall to be on the team for that season. His e-mail address is nbrown2@bgsu.edu and his cell phone number is 702-808-2379.

Q. Do I need any prior experience?
No, but acting and public speaking experience clearly is an asset. More than experience, you need to be coachable. In other words, we can help you be effective at Mock trial, but you need to trust us and attempt to comply with the steps for improvement that we give you.

Q. How many are on a Mock Trial team?
The smallest possible team has 3 witnesses and 3 attorneys. We might have as many as 8 on a team. We will have multiple teams. We will start with the #1 team being the best witnesses and attorneys at the start of the season. Over the course of the season, the composition of that #1 team will change as some team members grow more than others. In 2005-2006, for example, only 3 members of the #1 team at the start of the season were on the #1 team at the end of the season.

Q. When do tryouts for the team occur, and what form do they take?
Every year around August 15, the American Mock Trial Association sends each team the case that will be used that entire year as the basis for Mock Trial competitions. During the first week of the fall semester, we will hold an informational meeting to see whether any potential members wish to join us.

After that meeting, we will announce auditions for the team. They will take place early in the fall semester of each year. While the form of the auditions may vary, there are certain predictable components to the auditions. Witnesses will be asked to prepare a 5 minute character sketch of one of the witnesses included in the case we will be using for that year. Attorneys will be asked to do 2 tasks: provide a 5 minute opening statement for the case, as well as engage in a verbal exchange with another student in which the prospective attorneys will demonstrate knowledge of the Rules of Evidence that govern Intercollegiate Mock Trial, as well as extemporaneous presentation skills.

Q. When does the Mock Trial season start and end?
The season begins immediately after we conclude our tryouts. The end depends on the success of the team. The earliest the season would be completed would be February 15. If we are successful enough, we will be competing through March.

Q. How often does the team practice?
The team as a whole practices for 3 hours on Tuesday evenings. Individual pairs of attorney/witness duos practice at other times, dependent on their level of dedication to the activity.

Practice amounts increase dramatically at the beginning of the spring semester because our primary competitions will be from January 15 through February 15.

Q. What is the cost?
Mock trial at BGSU is free to team members. Unlike some other programs at other schools, team members pay for neither the training nor their travel expenses. It is virtually impossible to have a top level Mock trial team unless teams can travel to out-of-state tournaments where they can compete against the very best competition. We can afford the necessary travel.

We are very fortunate to have the support of many people both on and off our campus; they are willing to support us in the manner that counts the most-they provide funds for our budget. This aspect of Mock Trial at BGSU is very important because participants can invest their energies into Mock Trial with the full understanding that Mock Trial at our school is not just another student organization. Rather it is a respected training process for high-achieving students who want to become effective communicators and professionals.

Q. How much traveling will I be doing?
The top 2 teams will travel more than the other teams. During the fall semester both teams will participate in 3 out-of-state tournaments at other universities. In January and early February we will compete in 3 more tournaments.

On these trips, the only expense for team members is their food.

Q. Will I miss a lot of classes?
If you are on the first 2 teams, you should expect to miss 3 classes each semester. We will certainly explain to your teachers that you are not exactly engaged in a frolic and banter. Instead, you are engaged in an academic development activity with a demonstrated record of success in encouraging the skills and attitudes of a liberal education.