Guest Blog By: Diana Oxner
Before you question if this post is about me being on actual trial, I’ll let you know that it is not. This is about one of my greatest joys in this life – Mock Trial.
Mock Trial is a simulated courtroom trial. Students portray attorneys and witnesses and argue a fictional case. Teams are composed of eight to ten members, though only three attorneys and three witnesses compete in a given trial. Teams representing different colleges and universities compete against each in front of judges and attorneys who evaluate which team has made the best case.
This year’s case involves a fun combination of Tinder, an affair, and an attempted murder. To keep everyone on their toes everyone is given the same materials, but no two teams run the same case (unless they steal it), so every time we exit a round, we leave seeing the case in a totally different way.
Before every round, I always want to vomit because I am so nervous, but the moment I take the stand, I experience something very similar to a runner’s high. I love being able to tell a story (something I’ve really missed doing since high school) and then having another team’s attorney come up and ask me questions to try to trip me up. There’s a certain thrill that comes with trying to be one step ahead of the attorney as they interrogate me.
One of the coolest parts about doing Mock is that we get to compete against other colleges around the country. Over the course of the year, you begin to see the same faces and become friends with those people (Georgia Tech, Duke and I are tight). You automatically create this bond because you all decide to spend your weekends freaking out over winning the emphasis State v. Owens objection battle while your friends are out partying or enjoying the eatery at their college towns. You also begin to have the same mock trial role models who gain god-like status because of their talent in the courtroom.
One of my favorite memories from Mock is my first collegiate mock trial tournament in Minneapolis. We were coming back from a successful tournament (third place, Spirit of AMTA, and two best witness award winners) and were sitting in the Atlanta airport. Some of us were pretty hungry so we took the underground train to try to find some food.
What was supposed to be a normal train ride turned not only into a dance party but also a “let’s try to fight gravity and run around the cart and try to not fall down” party. The doors opened, and strangers filed in utterly confused as to why these college students were on the floor laughing until we had bruises. It was at this moment that I realized that the time I spend doing this crazy thing called mock trial is completely worth it because I was meeting all these new people who loved Mock as much as I did, and wanted to spend their weekends doing crazy things like this.
The other story happened this past weekend. It was our first tournament in the Regional competition. My team was newly formed, and it was literally our second tournament working together. At the opening ceremony, we found out our first round would be up against Georgia Tech A (the number four team in the country). Needless to say, we were all a little nervous.
We set up for trial and it was like something clicked in our team. Our witnesses gave performances of a lifetime (I somehow cried on the stand), our attorneys argued their little hearts out, and it seemed like we had an actual shot. After both case-in-chiefs, came the emphasis State V. Owens argument. From my team, there was a freshman who had only been an attorney since January. From Georgia Tech, an All-American attorney who is known for being the Usain Bolt of mock trial attorneys. Both students made their arguments (both of which were absolutely gorgeous) and the judge ruled in favor of my team!!
While getting a bid to go to the next round (ORCS or Opening Round Championship Series) was definitely a highlight of that weekend, seeing my team come together to win a ballot from a top team and give a trial of the year cemented Mock Trial as one of the greatest decisions of my life.
P.S – For your viewing pleasure, my excitement in the form of tears!!! WE’RE GOING TO ORCS!!!