GSU Mock Trial

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The 2016-2017 GSU Mock Trial Team

Welcome to the official page for GSU Mock Trial!

We are a group of Georgia State students with different majors, backgrounds, career goals, talents, and interests. What brings us together is that we love competing in mock trial tournaments against other colleges all over the country. We work hard. We have a lot of fun. And we represent GSU with pride!

The 2015-2016 season was a big one for us: we added an additional coach, started holding practices at the GSU College of Law, and, for the first time in school history, came within one tournament of advancing to the American Mock Trial Association (AMTA) National Championship Tournament. We have most of our team returning for the 2016-2017 season and we are looking to add a second travel team, which will provide more opportunities for team members and make us even more competitive. We have our sights set high for 2016-2017, so it is a great time to join us.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I join the team?

The normal way to join the team is by registering for Political Science (POLS) 4955 – “Mock Trial” for fall semester. Exceptions can be made to this general rule. For example, it is sometimes sufficient to take the course in spring semester. And other exceptions can be made as well. Nevertheless, we strongly encourage team members to take the course (at least in fall, but also in the spring), especially when they are new. To register, you will need permission. To request permission to register, you can fill-out the form below. If you would like to join, but for some reason cannot take the course, you can indicate that on the form below as well.

Who are your leaders?

Mock Trial is led by its two coaches: attorneys Shawanda Brown and Salvia Smith, of Smith & Brown, LLC. Ms. Brown has been coaching the team for six years and Ms. Smith became a full-time coach in the 2015-2016 season. In addition to being excellent teachers and mentors, Ms. Brown and Ms. Smith have extensive litigation experience in many areas of criminal law.

The faculty adviser for the team, who serves in a support role and aids with recruitment and administration, is Dr. Michael Evans from the Department of Political Science.

Do I need to be a Political Science major to participate?

No! Mock Trial is open to all GSU students. In fact, we are strengthened by having students from multiple departments.

Do I need to plan to be  a lawyer to benefit from Mock Trial?

No! Many aspects of Mock Trial provide excellent preparation for success in law school and beyond, but it provides many other kinds of benefits as well. For example, a vitally important role on the team involves specializing as a witness. This is a great opportunity for anyone seeking acting experience. And all Mock Trial participants gain valuable general life skills, such as critical thinking, oral and written argumentation skills, and teamwork.

Is the Mock Trial course (POLS 4955) only an elective, or can it count toward the Political Science major?

If you are majoring in Political Science and take the course twice (which most Mock Trial team members do), then you can count 3 of those 6 credits toward a Political Science major.  The other 3 credits (and all subsequent credits if you take it more than twice) are elective credits. If you are doing the Political Science Pre-Law Concentration, then the 3 credits counting toward the major may be applied for meeting any of the major requirements except for POLS 3140, 3800, 4130, 4131, and 4900. If you are doing the General Concentration, then the 3 credits counting toward the major may be applied for meeting any of the major requirements except for POLS 3800 and 4900.

Can the Mock Trial course (POLS 4955) count toward other pre-law majors at GSU besides Political Science?

Probably! Pending approval from the GSU B.I.S. Advisory Committee, students majoring in Law and Society are going to be able to count 3 credits toward the major if they take POLS 4955. If they take the course more than once, they will be able to count all subsequent credits as electives.

Currently, there are no plans to formally apply these same rules for other pre-law majors. However, if you are pursuing one of those other pre-law majors, you may contact Mock Trial faculty adviser Dr. Michael Evans to see if a special accommodation can be made.

When does the team practice?

Although sometimes extra practice is required, the team normally practices together on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4:30-7:00pm and on one weekend day. Team members are also expected to spend time outside of team practice studying the case and preparing to perform their role(s).

When does the team compete in tournaments?

Tournaments are on weekends; the team leaves on Fridays and returns on Sundays. In the Fall, the team participates in at least two invitational tournaments. In the Spring, the team participates in up to three official tournaments sanctioned by the American Mock Trial Association. The Regional Tournament is in February. If we are among the top teams at Regionals, then we go on to participate in the Opening Round Championship Series (ORCS) Tournament in March. If we are among the top six teams at the ORCS Tournament, then we go on to compete at the National Championship Tournament in April.

Want to Learn More or Join the Team?

If you would like to learn more about GSU Mock Trial and/or join the team, then please fill-out this form and one of us will be in touch with you soon.