There are no objections: Auburn’s Mock Trial team is seriously good. Last weekend, the Auburn Mock Trial Orange Team, composed of 11 members of Auburn Mock Trial, went against 16 other mock trial teams and placed 1st in the 3rd Annual Argo Invitational Mock Trial Tournament in Pensacola, Fla. Now, the team is advancing to regionals in Atlanta, where they will have to beat at least 20 teams to move onto the national competition. We got to talk to a few members of the team to find out how they felt after winning and why they love Mock Trial.
We interviewed:Alyson Smith, SeniorDavid Hathcock, SeniorShea Davis, SophomoreDylan Jones, SophomoreKristen Prylinski, SophomoreDavid Dowling, Freshman
HC: What made you want to get involved with Mock Trial? Are most of the people in Mock hoping to go into law, or are there people with many different majors involved?Alyson: I became involved in Mock Trial my freshman year at Auburn because of my desire to attend law school after graduation. I thought it would be the most applicable prerequisite for law school. While law school prepares its students for the theoretical practice of law, it falls short in teaching law students how to litigate in an actual courtroom. While most of our members are, of course, pre-law, we have members who like the adversarial atmosphere and know it will improve their professional careers regardless of their eventual field.
Shea: I had a few sorority sisters involved with Mock Trial who encouraged me to join the team because of my interest in pursuing law school after undergrad. The skills Mock Trial teaches like public speaking and poise can be used no matter what career path you choose.
Dylan: I was looking around for something that would get me involved with law and get me into law school earlier. I saw Mock Trial and decided that would definitely get me involved and look good on a resume. Most of us on the team are looking to go into law school, or are at least trying it out to see if we like it. While Law School teaches you the LAW, Mock Trial teaches you how to be a lawyer.
David H.: I became involved in Mock Trial for two reasons. First, I enjoyed Mock Trial competition in High School and I really wanted to continue doing that at the collegiate level. Second, I plan on attending law school and I thought that participating in College Mock Trial would help hone the skills I needed for doing that.
Kristen: I got involved in mock trial because I am planning to attend law school after college. Mock trial provides experience in a court room and [experience] preparing a case. Aside from the experience mock trial provides, it is an opportunity to be surrounded by a group of people who share your same passion.
David D.: The way I got involved with Mock Trial was somewhat unexpected. The summer before my first year at Auburn, I met the former Mock president, Justin Clark, and he briefly told me what the organization was and how much he enjoyed it. He also told me to be sure to join it. Sure enough, when Fall semester began, I walked past the Mock Trial table at O-Days, and signed my name for a tryout, not really knowing what to expect. I didn’t really think I’d get on the team, but I was definitely happy when I got called back. It’s a lot of learn-as-you-go, because most people on the team are very experienced and so things move pretty quickly.
HC: How did it feel to win the Invitational? In the weeks leading up to it, were you nervous or excited? Or were you calm and self-assured?Alyson: Right before the invitational, our team had gone through a major reorganization of the members. The attitude we had going into the invitational was negative and many of us felt relatively unprepared. The actual trial aspect of Mock Trial, our members will tell you, is one of the most nerve-wracking experiences of our lives. It is an exhaustive expenditure of emotional, intellectual, and physical energy. But it is more than worth it.
Shea: I was very nervous before our invitational in Pensacola because it was my first time competing in a Mock Trial competition ever. I also play the defendant in this year’s case, which did not help with any stress I was feeling. Winning this competition was such a rush, [and] it proved our weeks and months of hard work had been worth it.
Dylan: I’d like to say that I was extremely confident that we were going to just dominate the competition. That isn’t fully true though; I was extremely nervous. This was my first actual competition and competing against Alabama added even more pressure. But the moment I started talking I got into character and all of that went away, I knew what I had to do and I just did that, and it worked out pretty well because we won. I may have cheered a little bit before regaining my composure.
David H.: I think everyone is always a little nervous before we go in for trial, and that is a good thing; the nervousness keeps us on our toes. While I was not entirely certain that we would win the invitational, I was confident in the team’s abilities. I was thrilled when we won, but I was not surprised.
David D.: One week before we went to competition in Pensacola, I was informed that I would be a defense attorney for our team. A lot of us were put into new roles, and it was definitely scary, but we really pulled it together and ended up winning the competition. We’re all excited about how the team can progress after this weekend.
HC: What is the most fun experience you’ve had with Mock Trial?Alyson: For me, the most enjoyable aspect lies in the relationships I’ve formed with people who are just as dedicated to the program I am. I enjoy working with those who are constantly bettering themselves through this incredibly unique experience. But obviously, winning is very uplifting as well, because it validates the thousands of hours our members have poured into our case.
Shea: The best part of Mock Trial is the relationships I’ve built with people I would have never met otherwise. We are all extremely different but the courtroom is where we find common ground. I have been very blessed to be apart of this team and my mockers hold a special place in my heart.
Dylan: The late night sessions when we completely revamp our case before a trial may not seem like they’d be fun but they actually are. If you forget the lack of sleep the next day it’s basically just all of us in one hotel room joking around and trying to fix things that went wrong, drinking energy drinks and staying awake however we can. My advice is to take a quick jog around the hotel.
David H.: There is nothing more fun or intense than the experience of improvising during trial. You have to quickly think up new lines of questioning or answers under pressure, and there is no greater feeling than when you realize you tripped up the opposing attorney or witness.
HC: What else does Mock Trial have coming up? Are there any goals this Mock Trial team has set for the rest of the year?Alyson: In the very near future we are heading to Atlanta for regional competition, which will then decide if we go to national competition. Yes, our goals are centered around winning, but they also revolve around maximizing the experience our members receive as attorneys and witnesses so the graduating seniors can leave the program in an even better shape than they found it.
Dylan: The next step is to head to Atlanta for Regionals. Last year we made it out of regionals, so we want to keep on the rise. We’ll see some great teams. Personally, I want to win it all. I’ve always wanted Auburn Mock Trial to be the team that other teams hate. Why? People hate you because you’re good, and I want us to be the best.
If you’re interested in learning more or getting involved with Auburn’s Mock Trial team, you can check out their page here.
Rep Image : Kristen Vigilant, Preston Ehlers, Shea Elizabeth Davis and Dylan Jones pose with their first place plaque at the Argo Invitational.