The UIC Mock Trial Team

UIC's award-winning Mock Trial Team has established itself as one of the best teams in the nation, with a stellar tournament record in invitational, regional, and national competitions. Currently, the team is coached by UIC alum and local attorney Nicholas Gowen.

What is Mock Trial? Mock Trial is a competitive activity designed to teach students courtroom and trial techniques used in litigation. Each year, the American Mock Trial Association creates a fictitious case for undergraduate institutions to prepare for competition. It is from this case that students assume roles of attorneys and/or witnesses and compete in a "mock" trial moderated by judges. Through this hands-on experience, students gain a vivid picture of typical trial protocol, stages, and techniques. Students are critiqued based on their understanding and practice of standard forms of litigation, such as opening statements, direct and cross examination of witnesses, objections, and closing arguments.

Why participate in Mock Trial? Participation in mock trial provides students with a unique way to improve their understanding of the court system, trial techniques, and argumentation. More importantly, mock trial improves students' ability to think critically, argue effectively, present ideas clearly, and adapt quickly. The experience that mock trial offers students is just as valuable as the skills and knowledge that they gain. By working with a team of highly-motivated and hard-working individuals, students build unique relationships and friendships that could not be formed in a less intense environment.

Although students from a wide-range of disciplines actively participate in mock trial, the experience is especially beneficial to those students interested in attending law school. Most law school admission counselors recognize a student's participation in mock trial as a substantial commitment to legal education. Furthermore, students with a mock trial background gain an advantage in law school because the skills emphasized in mock trial are the same skills that second-year law students study in a Trial Advocacy class. Finally, and most importantly, competitions are A LOT OF FUN!!!

How does the UIC Mock Trial Team work? UIC's team is one of the few in the nation that is completely student-led. Thus, the team captains also take on the role of educator coaches. Participation on the team requires enrollment into Political Science 202 for the spring semester. Classes are instructed by team captains one night per week from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Behavioral Sciences Building (BSB), and practices are at the Daley Center with attorney coaches on another night from 6 to 9 p.m. The team starts practicing in the end of September and continues meeting until mid-April. CLASS & COURT ATTENDANCE ARE MANDATORY! The team is sponsored by the Political Science department and the Honors College, but students have to pay a course fee in the spring semester.

What are the requirements to join the UIC Mock Trial Team? There are no "concrete" requirements to apply. The UIC Mock Trial Team strongly encourages students from all disciplines and diverse backgrounds to try out. Sought-out applicants generally have a willingness to work hard, a passion to learn, and a desire to succeed. Tryouts are announced in the Fall semester.

If you have any more questions about anything at all regarding the UIC Mock Trial Team, please email: Ryan Nolte and Shahzeen Karim at

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