Lawrence University Mock Trial teams compete in first scrimmage

Cuong Nguyen

Lawrence University Mock Trial competed against UW-Green Bay Saturday, Feb. 7. It was the first time this academic year that Lawrence competed against another school. It was not an official tournament, but a scrimmage among two teams from Lawrence and one from UW-Green Bay.
Despite the fact that it was not an official contest, LUMT President Stephen Flynn said, “It is a bit nervous and exciting.” Taking into account that some players from Lawrence are in their first year of participating in the competition, the scrimmage itself is quite a challenge.
Mock trial is a contest between two opposing teams of six people in a “trial.” One team plays the role of the plaintiff while the other plays the role of the defendant. Each team is composed of three “lawyers” and three “witnesses.”
As in a real trial, there are the procedures of openings, witness calls, cross-examinations and closings. The winning team is declared based on the points that each competitor is awarded by the judges. In the scrimmage, however, no points were taken.
Since mock trial is a contest of logical and rhetorical skills, the pressure was intense. Both teams focused on every detail, from witnesses’ accounts to lawyers’ questions, and they raised objections whenever possible in order to gain advantages.
Acting skills proved to be an important factor in the mock trial. Some witnesses testified as if they were reading straight from a book, while some others seemed to have potential to make it to drama school. Sophomore Caitlin Fish surprised the “lawyers” from UW-Green Bay with her great role-playing, making them struggle during cross-examination.
Overall, the competition was quite balanced, with some strong witnesses and lawyers from both sides. However, the lawyers from both teams seem to have some trouble leading the witnesses’ testimonies.
LUMT had been preparing for the case since the beginning of fall term. In contrast to high school contests where there are many cases, there is only one universal case for all of the trials at the college level. This allows a more in-depth competition between schools.
This is the fourth year for LUMT, and the members have high expectations for the upcoming regional tournaments. They made it to the national contest three years ago, and it seems possible that they could repeat that year’s feat. This is the first year for the UW-Green Bay group. Thus, the scrimmage proved to be valuable for both groups as they prepare to compete in the real contests.