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February 9, 2021 at 8:00 pm

Josh Olivito Earns Outstanding Witness Award at Mock Trial Invitational

Josh Olivito, portrait

Josh Olivito

Despite having never competed in mock trial before—and learning that the season would be entirely virtual as he navigated his freshman year, Josh Olivito ’24 decided to try out for the team anyway.

He made it.

And he just won a major award—Best Witness—for his performance at the 13th annual Illini mock trial tournament, held virtually at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign on Jan. 23-24.

“My award belongs to the whole team because they are the people that give me the tips, spend time with me to practice, and support me to make sure that I succeed. That is what our Mock Trial team is about,” said an overjoyed Olivito.

A first year Political Science Pre-Law student at Ohio University, Olivito learned about the Ohio University Mock Trial Team through his enrollment in the Pre-Law Learning Community in the fall.

He was selected for one of the 20 available competition spots on the team and spent the last five months preparing for competition, starting with the basics.

“Mock Trial takes a lot of dedication and practice. And you have to enjoy it! If you get a feel for it in your first couple of weeks, you really start to notice the small things that you really enjoy about it,” he said.

Olivito and the team spent considerable time studying the foundational rules of trial procedure, rules of evidence, legal analysis, and case materials. They practiced their knowledge and legal strategies and scrimmaged against teammates before competing in several invitational tournaments, including at Brandeis University, the College of Saint Rose, the American Mock Trial Virtual Exhibition Tournament, and the University of Illinois.

Outstanding Witness Awards like the one won by Olivito are calculated on the basis of numerical rankings across the weekend. Among the factors that judges look to are the witness’s ability to maintain character and poise throughout direct and cross examination, work well with teammates to advance their case theme and theory, and display appropriate decorum to team members, judges, and opposing teams throughout the trial.

The next stop for the Ohio University Mock Trial team is Feb. 13 and 14, when the AMTA Regional Tournament provides an opportunity to advance to the Opening Round Championship Series.

OHIO Mock Trial is coached by Center for Law, Justice & Culture Pre-Law Advisor Larry Hayman, Esq.

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