January 12, 2014 1:38:57 AM
Mississippi University for Women now has a Mock Trial team, which will compete in regional competitions in February in Jackson.
The W is a member institution to the American Mock Trial Association along with more than 350 other universities and colleges in the United States. The AMTA provides a forum more than 5,300 undergraduate students each academic year to engage in intercollegiate mock trial competitions across the country.
Regional competitions will be held Feb. 21-23 at Mississippi College. Teams that are successful at regionals will move on to the Opening Round Championships at the end of March in Memphis, Tenn.
Wesley Garrett, assistant professor and director of legal studies at The W, said the program came at the suggestion of Dr. Dan Heimmermann, provost and vice president of academic affairs.
"He said it may be a good learning opportunity for students interested in the law," she said. "I researched it and spoke to some colleagues at other competing institutions about their experiences. I decided it sounded like a great challenge."
During the fall, the team prepared, learning court procedure and evidence rules. They also focused on case materials such as witness affidavits, evidence exhibits and case and statutory law.
Team members are required to register for the course, with members attending class like they would attend any three-credit hour class. As the team begins to develop the case and its strategies, the team meets outside of class for practice several times a week.
Their first dress rehearsal, open to the public, was held in November.
"The team has worked so hard this fall semester, and I think they are ready to compete," Garrett said, noting the team also plans to participate in an invitational competition in Pensacola later this month.