The Bryn Mawr Mock Trial team recently competed in the two-day Dragon Invitational Tournament at Drexel University. Tournaments involve a team of students performing attorney and witness roles and competing in trials against other colleges.
Bryn Mawr’s team was founded this year, and the members are Chloe Berger '21, Shreya Bhutani '22, Jackie Fernandez '21, Liz Gregory '21, Claire Hampton '21, Berit Kirkegaard '22, Maggie Morris '22, Callan Napier '21, and Ilana Panth '22.
"I was eager to create an opportunity for students to learn trial skills and compete," says Chloe. "Participating in Mock Trial and helping my teammates has brought me immense joy, and competing at our first invitational strengthened our team’s cohesion and confidence."
The American Mock Trial Association, or AMTA, writes the case materials that students use. The organization includes more than 5,300 students from 600 teams at member colleges across the country. Teams begin the fall season by attending invitational tournaments, in order to prepare for AMTA’s regional and national competitions in the spring.
"Competing at the Dragon Invitational was a really amazing way for our team to form relationships with teams from other schools," says Maggie, "and those connections we’ve made are going to be essential as we continue to grow into an established program."
Before competing, students spend months analyzing the case and learning the Rules of Evidence, under the guidance of several attorneys who help coach the team. Once the team finalizes its trial strategy, attorneys practice their speeches and refine their direct and cross examinations, while witnesses study their affidavits and develop their character roles.
After months of practicing, the team flourished during the competition. "It was my first time competing in a mock trial competition," says Claire. "It was invigorating and challenging to be an attorney. I had to think on my feet during objection battles and help my witness convey their story."
One of the best aspects of Mock Trial is that no matter a student’s experience, there are always new arguments to develop, new speeches to write, and new case theories to explore. Mock Trial—much like Bryn Mawr College—consistently challenges students to learn and refine their abilities within a dedicated and supportive community.