United States Air Force Academy

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U.S. Air Force Academy

Mock Trial Team

Image of the Mock Trial Team during a competition.

The Mock Trial Team offers the opportunity to improve critical thinking, oral communication, teamwork, and leadership skills for success in a future in law. It provides a firsthand look into the American legal system and an arena for competition against other colleges and universities.

The mock-trial advocate is exposed to a variety of aspects in the American legal system. Cadets learn both substantive and procedural sides of the law. They are exposed to role playing as attorneys or witnesses during realistic trial procedures. Each season, the American Mock Trial Association (AMTA) publishes the trial scenario for the year’s competition. The AMTA is currently comprised of 700+ teams.

In recent years, cases have involved topics such as murder, D.U.I., product liability, as well as libel and slander law. Once the case file is published, cadets practice daily to understand the case file and it’s substantive and procedural legal concepts. For example, in a murder trial, cadets study the definitions and elements involved in proving murder litigation while practicing the art of conducting direct and cross examination, objecting, etc. At the conclusion of the season, cadets will have gained an understanding of these legal concepts on par with cadets in law and practicing attorneys. In addition, cadets will have drastically improved their ability to “think on their feet” and advocate effectively through oral presentation.

In 2017, the Academy joined an elite group of teams who annually host one of 32 regional tournaments nationwide. Co-hosted with Colorado College, the tournament is held in the El Paso County Judicial Complex, which enhances the competitive atmosphere by allowing competitors to practice in actual courtrooms.

Club Accomplishments

Since its inception in 1991, the Academy Mock Trial Team has achieved substantial success. Each year the team competes, from September through March-April, travelling to approximately one invitational per month. During the 2018-2019 season, our team earned multiple top attorney and witness awards in the regional competition. They advanced to the AMTA Opening Round Championship Series in Geneva, Illinois where they finished 11th out of 24 teams. This success was certainly on par with past performances as traditionally, the Academy’s teams have fared well in invitational and regional competitions. The 1996 team placed 4th in the nation, with 5 members attaining All-American status and named the “Academy’s Outstanding Club.” In 2002, the team earned several outstanding awards in regional competitions and a bid to the national competition. The team competed in the National Gold Tournament, with one member attaining All-American status. The 2008 mock trial team captured 9th place in National Competition against the top 64 mock trial teams in the United States.

Becoming a Member

If you’re interested in competing or judging at the tournament, please contact the Academy Mock Trial team at usafa.mocktrial@gmail.com.