Club of the Week: Mock Trial

Grace Kenningham, Herald Contributor

Mock Trial is a great way for students who have something to say to speak up. Roger Williams students are always looking for ways to apply what they learn in the classroom to real life scenarios. Mock Trial is one of the many experiential learning clubs offered on campus. This club is legitimized by its affiliation with the American Mock Trial Association (AMTA). The AMTA provides them with specific cases, instructions, and the ability to compete against other teams.
According to the club’s mission statement, “The purpose of the Mock Trial Club is to promote and teach courtroom skills and techniques through simulated courtroom settings as prescribed by the American Mock Trial Association.”
The objective of Mock Trial is to help students learn about different courtroom procedures, get involved in the legal field, and improve their public speaking and social skills. The Mock Trial Club also promotes knowledge of legal issues and matters to the community and the RWU student body. Spreading the word about their cases and issues increases their involvement on campus and promotes the club.
There are currently 15 active members, including 4 executive board members. They are always looking for more people to join. There is no prior experience or specific major required to join the team. According to Emma Kiihn, acting president of the club, “the club has been in the rebuilding stage for the past two years.” The club has been trying to become more competitive and well-known on and off campus. They have been giving presentations at open houses and accepted students days, encouraging incoming freshman to try mock trial. They also had a table at Queerfest and the milkshake fundraiser on April 22. Kiihn makes it a priority to get the club more involved with all aspects of RWU during its off season.
However, during competition season, it is all hands on deck and members are focused on the case provided by the AMTA. The club travels to other schools and competes head-to-head in trials. Earlier this semester, the club’s coach, Professor Lisa Newcity, organized a scrimmage with Stonehill College which allowed them to execute what they have been learning the last few months. In February, there is a regional competition in which they compete against other teams to advance. The club is currently preparing for the next competition season.
Currently, the club has been having lectures on the different procedures of mock trial, such as how to make objections and what they mean. Looking forward, they will be receiving the next case over the summer, which will be a civil case, and begin preparing for competitions in the fall.
“My goal for the future of the club is to be a top competing school within our region. Often times during competitions, we find out what school we are going against — like Brown— and get nervous,” Kiihn said. “I want us to be one of the teams that other schools are nervous about. I also want us to make it past the regional competition, and hopefully make it to nationals one year.”