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Law and Order ASU; Sun Devil Mock Trial

ASU Club competes in the courtroom

Member of the ASU Mock Trial Team practice on Saturday, Oct. 1, 2016.
Member of the ASU Mock Trial Team practice on Saturday, Oct. 1, 2016.

An ASU club is bringing the drama of the courtroom into a competitive setting.

Sun Devil Mock Trial is a competitive simulated legal team that competes with schools around the nation. The team competes in a simulated courtroom to engage in a full legal trial complete with witnesses and attorneys.

Markaya Hill, a justice studies junior as well as the team’s president, said that the simulation is faithful to an actual trial.

“We do basically everything that a team of attorneys would do in putting on a trial,” Hill said.

Hill added that preparation for competitions include preparing witness statements as well as reviewing case laws and pieces of evidence.

“It’s like a real life Law and Order scene,” Hill said.

Hill said that Mock Trial has done a great job of providing her opportunities in regards to her major.

“I actually just finished a year-long internship at a criminal defense firm here in Downtown Phoenix as a result of some of the people I’ve met at Mock Trial,” Hill said.

While Hill may seem like a great fit for the team because of her interest in law, this is not to say that Mock Trial is strictly a competition for legal minds. After all, what is a trial without witnesses?

“In our program over the years that it’s been here at ASU, we’ve had every kind of major you could possibly think of,” Hill said. “One of the witnesses in our program, she’s a forensic science major, so she doesn’t want to be an attorney, she actually wants to be a medical examiner, but she’s been in mock trial for four years and she loves the program.”

The competitions are between one school representing the prosecution and the other side representing the defense.

Edward Nolan, a political science and molecular biotechnology sophomore, said that mock trial fits the entirety of a legal trial into three hours.

“You have attorneys giving opening statements, closing statements, direct examination of our own witnesses, and cross-examining witnesses of the other teams,” Nolan said.

Alex Chorak, a finance junior, also adds that the club sees it’s fair amount of members who joined to act as well as compete.

“People do accents or dress up and do dramatic witnesses or comedic witnesses,” Chorak said. “and that is a big chunk of your score at these tournaments.”

Chorak agrees that one does not need to be a future attorney to enjoy mock trial.

“You don’t necessarily need to love the law,” Chorak said. “What you need to do is just want to get involved and put something on the resume and be able to compete and try new things.”

Chorak said that a future in law wasn’t necessarily his reason for joining mock trial either. While he has some interest in law and may be applying to law school, he said it was the competition that initially drew him in.

“I got involved just because I was looking to compete and get involved with something on campus,” Chorak said.

Competition in the general sense is important to Chorak. He even changed his major because of it.

“I switched my major from molecular bioscience to finance,” Chorak said. “and I didn’t want to go to medical school anymore because after graduating it’s not as competitive as a profession.”

Chorak said that one of the most important things about Sun Devil Mock Trial is the family that it created for him.

“It kind of builds like a family thing,” Chorak said. “We win together, we lose together and it’s always nice go out and get to beat some of our rival schools as a unit.”

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