UNA Mock Trial Team Competes With Ivy Leagues, Produces Top Law School Candidates
Nov. 12, 2009
FLORENCE, Ala. – The University of North Alabama’s Mock Trial Competition Team will compete Nov. 13-14 at the Mid South Invitational held at Middle Tennessee State University.
Mock Trials is an experiential courtroom advocacy competition, where a fictional legal case is played out by students. Students will play attorneys and witnesses and compete as teams. This year’s case is a murder trial.
“It’s similar to what you would see in a courtroom drama like ‘Law and Order,’” said David Stewart, Mock Trials team member. “The rules of evidence are the same as in real life, the procedures are the same, the way the attorneys hold themselves in the courtroom are the same. In fact, the only thing fictional is the actual case.”
UNA’s Mock Trial team has been extremely successful in the past.
Dr. Tim Collins is the pre-law advisor, UNA Mock Trials program coordinator and faculty sponsor.
“We compete with the best students from the best colleges. We have been competitive and finished in the top 10 in the nation in two of the last nine years,” Collins said.
The team competes regularly with national programs from Ivy League schools like Columbia, Yale and Cornell to flagship universities like UCLA, George Washington University, Virginia, Duke, Furman, Rhodes and others. The American Mock Trial Association boasts more than 400 teams from every state.
This year’s UNA team is made up of 14 students. The undergraduate majors of members range from political science to psychology to communication.
Troy Skipworth coaches the team. Skipworth is a local attorney, UNA faculty member and former UNA Mock Trial competitor. He is a graduate of UNA and the University of Alabama School of Law.
“The reality is a majority of people in our society will have to go to court at some point in their lives,” Skipworth said. “Mock Trials provides that experience in a learning and nurturing environment.”
Many competitors have aspirations of becoming attorneys.
“Mock Trials helps those who think they want to go to law school know for sure if that’s what they want to do before they spend the effort and money on a legal education,” Skipworth said.
Competing for admissions at law schools is extremely tough. Mock Trials competitors do well in this process.
“Of the students who have competed in Mock Trials, more than 90 percent have been accepted into a law school of their choice upon graduation,” Collins said.
“Our program has placed students in law schools at the University of Michigan, Washington and Lee, UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Tennessee, University of Alabama, George Mason, Cumberland and a number of other regional law schools.”