The Ohio University Mock Trial Team sent two teams to the Franklin County Courthouse to compete in the Columbus Regional of the American Mock Trial Association competition on Feb. 11-12. The OHIO team was divided into two separate competing teams, the Green Team and the White Team, with a total of 18 students.
Receiving the case in September, the teams spent many hours preparing their cases for trial. This year’s case involved allegations of age-based employment discrimination. After studying the case material, students were required to learn case law, rules of evidence, objections, and components of a trial. Students were then assigned a role as an attorney, a witness, or both. Witnesses were required to learn an affidavit and develop a character within the context of the case theme and theory developed by the team. Attorneys were required to develop one direct examination in addition to a cross examination of a witness. In addition, some students wrote and delivered an opening statement or closing argument on behalf of their team.
On Saturday, Feb. 11, both teams competed in two trials. Green Team went against Michigan State University and Valparaiso University. White Team faced Ohio State University and Xavier University. The next day, on Sunday, Feb. 12, both teams faced a second round of two trials. White Team went against Valparaiso University and Weber State University. Green Team faced off against University of Cincinnati and Indiana University – Bloomington. The competition featured 23 teams from across the region.
Tim Schilling, a freshman studying Political Science Pre-Law and Economics, stated that “playing a witness was a blast. It helped me to understand the legal system from a point of view I’m not used to.”
Katie Belle Neumann, a sophomore studying Business, talked about her experience as a first-year-mocker: “It has been a pleasure competing with a team that offers such amazing support and motivation. My team and coaches have taught me numerous things to prepare me for the future, while never getting tired of my endless questions. I’m thankful for the experiences this season had to offer and look forward to the next season!”
Sara Sams, a senior Political Science major, reflected on the weekend: “Regional Championships were a really fun weekend that showed how much work both teams had put in this year. It was fun to compete and see our hard work pay off, but also bittersweet as it was my last competition.”
Elliott Smith, a junior studying History, recapped his favorite part of the weekend: “My favorite part of the weekend was watching the White Team defenses’ second trial on Sunday. We perform after spending months preparing our roles.”
The team is coached by Ohio University Pre-Law Specialist Larry Hayman of the Ohio University Center for Law, Justice & Culture and Associate General Counsel Grant Garber. The team’s attendance at the competition is made possible by the College of Arts & Sciences, the Student Activities Commission of Ohio University Student Senate, as well as generous contributions of Ohio University alumni.