• Old Main

    Mock Trial

    Hamline Mock Trial Programs

    Like its law school and high school counterparts, undergraduate mock trial is a simulated trial court experience. Students prepare and try a case playing both the attorney and witness roles. Hamline belongs to the American Mock Trial Association which sponsors the undergraduate tournaments at a national level. Hamline promotes student participation in mock trial in two ways: (1) Hamline supports student teams and (2) Hamline puts on mock trial tournaments. 

    The Purpose of Undergraduate Mock Trial

    The purpose of mock trial is educational. Students learn about the American legal system through a simulated case experience. The goal is to instill in our students with the highest ideals of the legal system while teaching forensic and interpersonal skills. Mock trial challenges students. It builds teamwork skills, analytical thinking and presentational ability. Mock trial provides an opportunity to explore the work of courtroom attorneys as a career. Mock trial builds a bridge between the legal community and our colleges and universities.

    Hamline's Mock Trial Philosophy

    At Hamline our approach to mock trial is one of broad inclusion. The Hamline mock trial participants have adopted the slogan of "One team, many squads." We will provide an opportunity for every interested student to be a part of the mock trial experience, learn basic courtroom techniques, develop forensic skills and enjoy the fellowship of our "Team." For competitions we break into squads of six to eight members as required by the national rules but we consider ourselves all members of one team.

    Our experienced team members share their knowledge and insights with new members. We all strive to maximize both team and individual development. We actively seek a collegial spirit among ourselves and with the students who compete for other universities. We are committed to excellence in performance but we are equally committed to service and camaraderie in the mock trial program. 

    Hamline mock trial members build leadership and teamwork skills while they master trial procedure and legal theory.

    The Hamline Mock Trial Team

    Hamline's team has fielded as many as six competition squads. Every student who wants to compete in a tournament will have the opportunity to do so. We take our teams to three invitational tournaments in addition to entering teams in AMTA regional/national tournaments. Since the national tournaments limit each school to four entries in the regional and two in the national tournaments, the Hamline team reconfigures its competition squads for different events.

    Placement on regional and national teams is competitive. Selection to represent the University at a major competition is based on performance, commitment and contribution to the mock trial effort.

    Our team is a student government-funded activity. Student government resources are supplemented by contribution from the Legal Studies Department and the dean's office. Our group is led by two coordinators who were elected by the students. During a tournament each squad has a captain. The team has a faculty advisor, Jackie Palmer, as well at other attorney coaches. Other attorney alumni, professors and law students join us to coach at practice sessions with the squads.

    Intercollegiate mock trial is very competitive and Hamline always does well in regional and national competition. We have won awards as a team and as individuals. Mike Malmgren, class of 1996, is a two-time All American and Outstanding Witness. Collete Medas-Forbes, class of 1997, is an All American attorney who participated on the AMTA All Star team. We are very proud of our mock trial team and traditions.

    Hamline Tournaments

    Hamline annually sponsors mock trial tournaments. Hamline has hosted invitational and regional competitions in the past. Hamline is now the home of the National Mock Trial Tournament. Hamline also arranges dual meets with other colleges in Minnesota.

    Classroom Mock Trials

    Hamline students also have opportunities learn and utilize mock trial skills in the classroom. The introductory course in the Legal Studies Department, Legal Systems in American Society, incorporates a mock trial into its learning activities. Other Legal Studies courses which have sponsored in class mock trials are Criminal Law and Procedures and Litigation and Trial Practice.

    Undergraduate students can participate as jurors in the law school trials. Students in the undergraduate Litigation class team up with the law students to prepare a case for trial to a jury.

    Hamline students can do special projects in connection with mock trial. Beth Yard '97, coached her own high school and then coordinated a project for high school teams state-wide to participate in the National Mock Trial Tournament as jurors.