Students participating in team "scrimmages."About Mock Trial

Mock Trial is an activity where undergraduate students take on the roles of attorneys and witnesses in a case and simulate a trial. It is a class at UAB (CJ 434: Mock Trial Competition) which is open to everyone, not just Criminal Justice majors. Team members develop skills in critical thinking, writing, presentation, and professionalism.

Each year, over 300 schools register to compete in the American Mock Trial Association’s (AMTA) regional and national tournaments. At these tournaments, students simulate trials against other schools over the course of a weekend. Attorneys and judges volunteer their time to judge these competitions. Based on their scoring, individuals and schools receive awards for their performance. UAB students routinely win individual awards, and the team itself has won regional championships and a national tournament.

The Typical Year

In mid-August of each year, we receive a case packet from AMTA. While there are textbooks that we recommend, this fictional case file is the primary reading material for the class. It is critical that the team learns the intricacies of the trial problem, just as a lawyer would need to know the intricacies of his or her case.

After learning, analyzing, and preparing the case with the help of the team coaches, the UAB team splits into two squads. Team members each take on their roles (attorney or witness) and the two squads try the case against each other to prepare for competition.

Both teams attending a competition. Competitions

After the case has been developed and practiced on both sides (prosecution/plaintiff and defense), the UAB teams travel to compete in tournaments at other various host universities. Usually, a team member should expect to attend two invitational competitions: two in the fall and one in the spring. An invitational competition, while not counting toward UAB’s official record, is a critical stepping stone to prepare the team for the next stage, official AMTA Regional and National Competitions.

A team member should expect to attend one regional, an intermediate national-level competition (called an Opening Round Championship Series), and the National Championship Tournament in mid-April.

Getting Involved

To join you need only register for CJ 434. Tryouts will be held within a week or two to determine where you best fit on the team. If you have any more questions, explore this site or email Asna Poonawalla at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. You can also attend an information session.

Information Sessions

At the beginning of the year, the mock trial team holds information sessions where you can learn more about Mock Trial and have your questions answered. We look forward to hearing from you!