LAWRENCE — Teams from across the Midwest will gather in Lawrence this weekend for the Jayhawk Invitational Mock Trial Tournament. Students from 17 schools will compete Saturday, Dec. 5, and Sunday, Dec. 6, in simulated courtroom trials, pitting their analytic skills against the region’s top undergraduate advocates.
"We are thrilled there is so much interest in this year's competition," said Chelsi Hayden, KU Mock Trial Team adviser and clinical associate professor of law. "We hope the tournament proves to be an engaging experience that helps competitors on all 30 teams develop their trial skills."
Mock Trial competitors build cases based on a packet of evidence given to all teams, crafting strategies to present information and counter arguments from competitors. Each team portrays both sides, with members acting as both attorneys and witnesses. Judges select winners based on performance.
This year’s Jayhawk Invitational marks a return to tradition as the competition resumes in Lawrence for the first time since 2004. Teams will compete in preliminary and elimination rounds, with the top five teams receiving awards. Top individual competitors will also be recognized as well as the team that demonstrates exemplary sportsmanship.
Universities host mock trial tournaments throughout the academic year, with the top teams qualifying for regional and national competitions in the spring. KU’s Mock Trial Team has enjoyed a resurgence in recent years, quadrupling its team roster and expanding its tournament schedule. The squad qualified for the preliminary rounds of the 2015 American Mock Trial Association National Championship Tournament in Louisville, Kentucky.
“The skill set you develop applying rules to a given set of facts are exactly what you will be doing in law school,” said Will Admussen, the team’s public relations director and a junior majoring in economics and political science. “There’s so much room for creativity and a lot of fun.”
The Mock Trial Team relies on the support of volunteer judges to ensure a successful tournament, which will take place on campus. If you would like to serve as a judge, contact the team at KansasUMockTrial@gmail.com.
The Jayhawk Invitational is sponsored by the KU School of Law.