Campus Life

Tell us a story

On MIT Mock Trial

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The MIT Mock Trial team smiles after finding success at their most recent competition.

Tell us a story.

I don’t remember much about trying out for MIT Mock Trial. I’m sure there was more to the audition, but the part I remember most clearly is being asked this: “Tell us a two-minute story.” At the time, I didn’t know why this skill was important enough to request, but now, at the end of our competition season, I think I’m starting understand.

Ultimately, a Mock Trial round comes down to being able to tell the best story. Two competing teams present both sides of a fake court case in front of judges — whether you win or not depends on which witnesses can captivate an audience and convincingly convey their points and which attorneys can best present their facts and adapt the case to fit their needs. After all, the prosecution will always have a very different story than the defense, with each side claiming the other is telling the wrong story.

As I write this, I’m still recovering from this weekend’s competition and, boy, was this season a rollercoaster. Over the course of the season, members of our team won a total of 10 Outstanding Attorney and Witness Awards. MIT Mock Trial also earned our first official bid to the National Championship Qualifier, even though this is only our third year of existence. Although we’re not going to nationals this year, this bid is proof that we’re able to hold our own against the nation’s top  teams. Really, it can only go up from here.

At our most recent competition, we were also recognized for something that is, in a way, even more important than qualifying for nationals: the sportsmanship award for “civility, justice, and fair play.” The other teams in our tournaments (about two dozen) voted for MIT — not once, but twice.

This should give you an idea of how amazing the people of MIT Mock Trial really are. Through marathon practices, long hotel stays, and My Cousin Vinny showings, I got to spend a lot of time with my teammates outside of the courtroom and it was obvious: These people are incredible. They’re some of the most crazy, dedicated, passionate storytellers I have ever met.

Every one of us does about a million things outside of Mock Trial, yet we still find time to practice for hours a week to prance around a courtroom. Our coaches, despite being real life adults juggling law school and actual careers in law, find time to trek all the way out to MIT every week because they love doing Mock Trial as much as we do.

My Mock Trial story started five years ago (this year is my first at a collegiate level) and I’m not even close to stopping. You might wonder why, because, like the majority of people on our team, I don’t want to go to law school. The members of MIT Mock Trial have many different paths in front of us — medical school, PhD programs, technical fields — and yet we all do and love Mock Trial.

I do Mock Trial because of the adrenaline rush that comes with doing a cross examination and the thrill of taking on an eyewitness’s persona. I do Mock Trial because it teaches me how to hold myself in front of an audience, how to think on my feet, and how to be a good storyteller. Sure, my teammates might have different reasons, but I know they’ll agree with me on this: At the end of the day, you realize that you do Mock Trial and keep doing Mock Trial because it’s what you love doing.

So, if any of this makes you think that this crazy thing could be fun, come join us. Send an email to or stop by and chat with our team at Activities Midway in the fall. We’d love to have you, so come try out. Tell us a story.