Just Try and Cross Them!

By Joseph Bailey ’15
Intern, Univ. Communications

This year, for the first time since the group’s founding in 1999, the University of Rochester Mock Trial club sent two teams to the prestigious Open Round Championships (ORCs). This came about because one of their teams placed in the top seven, taking second at Regionals for an automatic bid, and the other took 8th, narrowly missing an automatic bid, but still securing an open bid to the ORCs.

The president of the club, Hannah Sherry ’13, says that usually only the best mock trial programs and the largest universities send two teams to ORCs, so she is very excited to have earned that honor this year. The teams competed in ORC’s in Greenville, S.C. and in Hamilton, Ohio.

The club typically begins the year with about 35 members, which is carefully winnowed down to around 25. Of these 25, 17 are currently competing. One of these members is Wil Dietz ’16, a newcomer to the college mock trial scene, who won the outstanding witness distinction at a competition a few weeks ago.

This year’s case is one regarding the recklessness of a made-up scuba diving company. Other year’s cases have included murder and drunk driving. However, our mock trial team must spend half their time preparing a case proving how reckless the scuba company was, leading to a fictitious woman’s death, and the other half defending the scuba company. The team only works on one case each year, and tries it at all competitions they attend.

With the occasional help of lawyers from the greater Rochester area, the club practices cross-examinations, directs, and opening and closing statements. The Mock Trial team will quickly become a force for justice in the courtrooms of tomorrow.

University of Rochester, Nixon Peabody Host Mock Trial Competition

Univ. Communications – More than 100 students from the University of Rochester, Binghamton University, Colgate University, St. Bonaventure University, SUNY Geneseo, and the University of Buffalo tested their knowledge of courtroom procedures, mastery of case facts, and ability to examine witnesses and deliver opening and closing remarks during hypothetical case scenarios during a mock trial competition held on Saturday, Oct. 10.

Sponsored by Rochester’s Mock Trial team and local legal firm Nixon Peabody LLC, the competition challenges teams to prepare both prosecution and defense arguments and gives them the chance to practice trial techniques and strategies by acting out different courtroom proceedings, taking on the roles of witness, prosecution lawyer, and defense lawyer. Nearly 20 area lawyers served as volunteer judges, presiding over the trials and assessing the students’ performances.

For more information about Rochester’s Mock Trial team, visit them on the web at https://sa.rochester.edu/clubs/MockTrial/about.

Rochester’s Mock Trial Team In Action

Photos Courtesy of Rochester’s Mock Trial Team and Joseph Carello, Nixon Peabody, LLC