Cornell students debate a case for mock trial.

Cornell College Mock Trial has had tremendous success since its founding in 2006. The team is ranked in the top 7% of mock trial teams nationally and has qualified for the American Mock Trial Association (AMTA) National Championship Tournament in 2009, 2010, 2013-2016 and 2019.

Mock trial is an intercollegiate activity that combines speech, theatre, and debate. Cornell's mock trial program gives students the chance to develop a better understanding of the courtroom process and the American legal system. The primary objectives of Cornell’s mock trial program are to enhance each student’s critical thinking, analysis of logic, and public speaking skills in a competitive and collegial environment.

The American Mock Trial Association provides a different case each year, alternating between a civil and a criminal case. Mock trial teams consist of six to eight students and each student is given an attorney and/or witness roles for each case. Students selected to compete at mock trial tournaments will present two plaintiff/prosecution and defense cases to a tournament judge. Tournaments are held in the fall and continue into the middle of the spring.

Participation in the mock trial program is open to all Cornell students, regardless of academic major or prior mock trial experience. Students may earn 1/4 credit for each semester of mock trial participation.

Mock trial at YaleMock trial with trophyMock trial at Drake

Mock trial auditions

Auditions for the Cornell Mock Trial team are held the second week of classes in the fall. Exact dates and times will be announced prior to the start of classes via posters and e-mail. Anyone who is looking to meet new people and get involved in a highly competitive intercollegiate speech competition is welcome to audition.

Individuals who want to audition are asked to prepare a brief 3–5 minute audition piece to present at the auditions. The audition piece can be anything from a dramatic prose piece to an informational or persuasive speech on a topic of your choosing. The subject is not important, but the presentation is.

Students who want to audition but have a conflict with the date and/or time should contact to arrange an alternate audition date.