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About EKU Mock Trial

Eastern Kentucky University offers a nationally recognized Mock Trial program. Coached by Thomas C. Parker (J.D., University of Michigan Law School), Lynnette S. Noblitt (J.D., University of Michigan Law School), James "Tee" Pennington (J.D., University of Kentucky College of Law), Sarah Jo Jacobs (B.A. in Theater and English, Eastern Kentucky University), and Dean Sara Zeigler (Ph.D., University of California-Los Angeles), EKU teams compete successfully against students from the most prestigious colleges and universities in the nation.

What is Mock Trial?

The American Mock Trial Association provides undergraduate students with an opportunity to learn first hand about the work of trial attorneys, to understand the judicial system, to develop critical thinking ability, and to enhance communication skills. In teams of 6-10 competitors, students prepare a criminal or civil case using materials provided by the national association and play the roles of witnesses and attorneys. Students must be well-versed in the laws of evidence and the rules of courtroom procedure to compete effectively. Competitions typically begin in October and continue through the spring, ending with the AMTA national tournaments in March and April.

In how many tournaments does the Mock Trial team compete?

EKU teams typically attend 3-4 weekend tournaments in the fall semester and 3-5 in the spring semester, depending upon qualification for nationals.

Will I receive course credit for participating?

All EKU team members receive 4 hours of credit (2 Fall, 2 Spring) for a full year of participation. Students selected to compete at the national level receive one additional hour of credit in the Spring. Credit (letter grade) is awarded at the upper division level. Students of any major may participate.

How much work is required?

The Mock Trial class meets twice a week (Monday 7-9pm and Wednesday 3:45-5:45pm) for two hours in each session.  In addition, students must practice outside of class, attend monthly weekend/evening scrimmages, and attend tournaments. Students should be prepared to spend extra time practicing right before tournaments. Expect to spend as much time on mock trial as on a 3-hour class, not counting tournament time and scrimmages.

How do I try out for Mock Trial?

Students are selected for the program through an interview/audition process. If you are interested in auditioning, please contact the Program Coordinator, Thomas Parker, at thomas.parker@eku.edu.

What expenses are covered?

The University provides a budget for the program, covering transportation, lodging and fees. Students must pay for their own meals.

Will Mock Trial help me get into law school?

The most important factors in determining whether you get into law school are your GPA and your LSAT score. Mock Trial cannot compensate for a weak academic record. However, law schools understand that students with a mock trial background are a step ahead in terms of knowledge of legal rules and procedures, communication skills, and critical-thinking ability. Some law schools offer scholarships to students who receive individual recognition at the national level. Trial advocacy programs particularly value mock trial experience.

Is Mock Trial helpful to students who do not want to go to law school?

Absolutely. Mock Trial improves critical thinking, communication abilities, and teamwork skills. Students learn to adapt to changing circumstances, to integrate new or unexpected facts into an existing case theory, to be articulate and poised under pressure , and to work with other students as members of a team. These skills are useful in virtually every profession and graduate program, and are highly valued by potential employers.

How do I get involved?

Information sessions will be held during the first week of classes in the fall semester. At any time, you can also contact the Program Coordinator, Thomas Parker, at thomas.parker@eku.edu if you are interested in joining.

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