Mock trial provides lifelong benefits to Central students
After weeks of preparation, the day of a mock trial tournament can be both intimidating and exhilarating. Students have poured over their notes, trying to understand every facet of a case. Now they are ready to take on their roles—witness or attorney—and do their best to stay cool and think on their feet.
Governed by the American Mock Trial Association, mock trial is an activity designed to teach students real-life skills, such as problem solving, logic and public speaking. Central has been part of mock trial since its inception in 1984. During a mock trial tournament, student attorneys present opening statements, examine and cross-examine witnesses, and present closing arguments. Witnesses give expert testimony or portray characters in the case. Each student earns points for his or her performance, and the team with the most points wins.
Karleigh Miller ’13
Major: History and Political Science
Creighton University School of Law: J.D. Masters in Negotiation and Conflict Resolution
Current role: Associate at Cohen Law Offices, L.L.C. in Eau Claire, Wis.
“Mock trial was one of the best experiences I had while I attended Central College. I participated all four years. I loved every minute I competed.
“Mock trial is beneficial in developing critical thinking, public speaking skills, and poise. You have to develop the ability to not only present your materials well, but explain your position clearly.
“It is a misconception that you need to be a certain major to participate in mock trial. Mock trial is useful for all majors! Most of my friends that participated in mock trial are in careers that are not legal related. Many work for universities, art museums and marketing for businesses.”
Central holds the Dr. Donald P. Racheter Mock Trial Invitational each winter, hosting teams from across the region. Central is currently raising funds for a mock trial endowment that will support the team and allow for its continued growth and success. Learn more and donate here.
Mitch Phipps ’17
Major: Business Management (Finance Emphasis)
Current role: Financial Analyst at Technical Services and Solutions Inc.
“Words cannot fully describe the full benefits and impact it has had on me as a person and professional.
“I firmly believe it is important for students of any background to consider participating in Mock Trial at Central because I developed close personal friendships with many of my teammates, but I also developed impactful and incredibly helpful skills such as time management, effective communication, critical thinking, and the ability to think quickly, all of which are skills which are considered highly valued regardless of career choice.”
Mock trial has been an extremely meaningful experience for decades of Central students of all majors.
Amelia Howard ’20
“The best part of mock trial is being able to work together with a small team of people consistently throughout the year. It allows people to become really close and work together to strive toward achieving our goals.”
Kurt Sernett ’21
“Being a part of mock trial has meant everything to me since first coming to Central last fall as a freshman. I have aspirations of going to law school someday, and mock trial is a great vehicle for helping me to gain experience in the field of law. The people in mock trial are also what makes the organization a great activity to be part of. Everyone has different opinions and viewpoints, and it teaches you to be more accepting of others and more open to different perspectives along the way.”
Joel Mudd ’11
Major: Political Science, Pre-Law
Current role: Software Sales/Account Management
“One of the most important skills that you develop is your public speaking ability. No matter what role you take on the team, at some point you will have to speak in front of large groups.
“(The skills you learn) reach far beyond the legal world. I’m in sales now, but every day I have to speak in front of current clients, prospective clients, upset clients, etc. Just like in mock trial, I have to prepare, but I also have to be ready for any curve ball that might come my way.”