If you’re looking for a competitive public speaking outlet at Tufts, you should try out for Tufts Mock Trial! With the advent of the next tournament cycle, I wanted to reflect on this past season and share more about what makes this team so special.
How does mock trial work? Mock trial essentially simulates criminal and civil court cases. Every year, teams work from case materials written by the American Mock Trial association. Each annual fictional case is constructed from witness affidavits, evidence, and expert reports. Based on these case materials, teams construct a plaintiff and defense argument to present in court. It might sound complicated, but don’t worry! TMT trains its new members to know the ins and outs of fictional court like the backs of their hands.
I tried out for TMT for the community and the high-level competition it offers. While I practiced public speaking in Model UN, I had never done mock trial before coming to Tufts. Part of what makes our team special is that many members of the team had never done mock trial before college, yet we are still a nationally competitive team. We’re student-run, meaning that we operate the program and organize travel to competitions ourselves. Nowhere else could I hope to spend time with some of the most passionate people on campus.
We started out the invitational season by competing at our home tournament. The weekend of Halloween, scores of other mock trial teams from around the country converged upon the Tufts campus to compete. We met fellow competitors, from NYU to Yale. The morning of the tournament, we assembled in the Joyce Cummings Center for opening ceremonies with the rest of the competitors. The auditorium was humming with nervous energy, and Tufts alumni who had been former competitors on our team were there to cheer us on. The classrooms in the Science and Engineering Complex were figuratively transformed into miniature courtrooms and we spent the weekend presenting evidence and arguing objection battles.
During closing ceremonies, we watched the tournament results come in. Eventually, they announced that we had won third place! While we were happy with how we had performed in the tournament, we were even more proud of the effort we had been putting in all season. New team members had competed in their first tournament ever, and we celebrated this incredible milestone alongside them.
One of the benefits of competing on TMT is getting to travel to tournaments across the country. Our next tournament took place in Columbia, South Carolina. At this tournament, we competed in a real courthouse, which added an element of realism to the proceedings. By the end of the weekend, we had finished out strong and were proud of each others’ performances. Having spent hours in practice together, it was so meaningful to close out the season on a high note and travel back to Tufts.
I’m so grateful to this team for introducing me to an amazing group of people and bringing my public speaking skills to a new level. Even if you’ve never done mock trial before, try out for the team! You might become a part of one of the most fun, friendly, and competitive groups on campus.