Eight pre-law students from Huntington University participated in their first mock trial competition with the American Mock Trial Association Feb. 23-24 at Notre Dame University in South Bend.
In preparation, the mock trial team, comprised of senior Brad Barber, junior Rosa Cruz, freshman Drew Higgins, freshman Korynne Kik, senior Samantha Lawrence, freshman Reneson Jean-Louis, sophomore Sam Thompson and junior Steven Uhey, gathered their case and chose witnesses. They participated in a scrimmage against Manchester University two weeks before the competition to get a better handle on what mock trials are like on the collegiate and competitive levels.
Dr. Jeff Webb, professor of history and pre-law adviser at HU, has been slowly building momentum under the pre-law program to get to the point of participating in competitions. He began the process last January when he taught a mock trial J-Term class.
"I wanted the students to get a sort of feel for the competitive atmosphere that comes with mock trial," he said. "They began to understand the considerable commitment time this takes, but also appreciate the good mental training mock trial provides. To be successful in this professional field you have to be very good at public speaking and think on your feet. It's been a demanding but rewarding experience."
HU's mock trial team competed against institutions such as Hillsdale College and the University of Chicago.
Barber hoped the feedback his team received will prove useful in future competitions.
"We learned a lot from the judges' responses and watching more polished teams perform," he said. "There was a lot of constructive criticism we received that will definitely help the HU team in the future."