Mock Trial: Austin-South

Course #:

RHET

6-551

Division:

Humanities

Department:

Rhetoric

Suggested Age:

14-18
According to the competition rules, students must be in grades 9-12 to participate.

Prerequisites:

None. However, experience in speech/debate, drama, or forensics is recommended.

Mock Trial: Austin-South

Course Description:

SPECIAL NOTE:

This class will only meet through the competitive season, ending in March (unless progressing to the National tournament, which is in May). Tuition covers an extensive amount of out-of-class coaching as well as individual tutoring and is only due as long as the team is competing. Because of the amount of time spent preparing for competition, students will have more than enough hours to claim an entire academic credit by February.


Purpose

Mock Trial is a fun and challenging way to provide students with an operational understanding of the judicial system and legal processes. They will develop useful knowledge about good communication skills, critical thinking, forensic data analysis, oral advocacy, and team dynamics.

Students will learn and practice the basic elements of trial advocacy, including opening statements, direct- and cross-examinations of witnesses, objections, and closing arguments. The team will analyze and argue on both sides of the case and will provide witness-stand testimony with cross-examination in a fictional trial setting. Teams compete against other teams in a progressive tournament.


Class Duration

Apart from the 2–3 hours of class per week, students should plan to spend one Saturday per month working with the team plus 3 or more meetings per month along with weekly video-conference meetings during the competitive season. Team members should be committed to the practice and competition weekends (usually in January) and possibly additional weekends if advancing to state finals (usually in late February or early March).

Curriculum/Materials:

  • Although no textbook is required, practice and tournament materials will be provided by the instructor.

  • There is a $60 participation fee to cover the cost of the case packet, binders, and the Texas High School Mock Trial team registration fees.