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Mock Trial and Law School Apps

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  • Mock Trial and Law School Apps

    How useful is Trial to a law school app?

  • #2
    Re: Mock Trial and Law School Apps

    There's never any doubt you're a Mac student when you call it "Trial." lol

    Anyway, it can give you something to talk about regarding leadership, personal development, or why you're interested in certain areas of law, what you might plan to do after law school, etc. By itself, though, the consensus is that it's just another extracurricular activity to the adcomms. As with any other activity, it can help your resume show you were busy in college, but in the end it's just something to talk about in a compelling way at best. Any real "boost" it gives applicants is probably fairly negligible unless you can put "National Championship team" or "scored as best attorney in the nation" on there.

    I have heard of a few schools that tend to consistently be impressed by it. Several mock trial alums on this site talked about how Georgetown tends to leave pleased notes regarding mock trial on their acceptance packages; when I got mine I saw the writing on the letter and knew instantly it would probably be about mock trial, and it was. Still, I doubt it helped me that much.

    LSAT>GPA>>>>>Personal Statement>>>Resume>>LOR's tends to be the hierarchy at most places. Ultimately things like mock trial are just something you can use to make the personal statement effective in explaining who you are, where you come from, and/or what you want to do in the future.

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    • #3
      Re: Mock Trial and Law School Apps

      I agree that I don't feel that it helped that much to me, except for in my personal statement. I pretty much used the entire thing talking about why I want to go to law school and why I want to be an attorney. In my personal statement, I talked a lot about mock trial, and the job that I had in the youth court.

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      • #4
        Re: Mock Trial and Law School Apps

        Mock Trial experience will probably carry more weight on your application if you apply to schools with reputable trial team programs.

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        • #5
          Re: Mock Trial and Law School Apps

          When it comes to law school applications, you have to understand that LSAT and GPA are going to control the VAST majority of a law school's decisions. Mock Trial won't get you into a school if your numbers aren't good enough to get you in. But, just like almost any other "soft" credential, it might put you above other applicants with similar numbers when it comes down to the late-cycle "maybe" pile, or the wait list. Mock trial demonstrates that you are genuinely interested in the law, which many law school applicants are not. So, it helps. But it's not going to make up for your low LSAT or GPA.

          LSAT & GPA > everything.


          I got one of those little handwritten acceptance letter notes that said "your mock trial experience will serve you well in law school" or something like that. But, if you think about it... they handwrite a note for everyone, so they have to say something to you. I think they just pick whatever is easiest and write it down, so it's not surprising to see those mock trial notes. I don't think it means a whole lot -- again, law schools might like it, but the only thing they really care about are the US News Rankings, aka LSAT & GPA.

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          • #6
            Re: Mock Trial and Law School Apps

            I think in some special cases it might get you some recognition. One of our alums got a handwritten letter from Georgetown attached to his acceptance congratulating him on his success at GAMTI. If you're super successful, maybe your app might get a little extra attention.
            Objection ... he's making my witness look like a fool.

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            • #7
              Re: Mock Trial and Law School Apps

              [quote author=a-mac link=topic=4807.msg192437#msg192437 date=1295982923]
              I think in some special cases it might get you some recognition. One of our alums got a handwritten letter from Georgetown attached to his acceptance congratulating him on his success at GAMTI. If you're super successful, maybe your app might get a little extra attention.
              [/quote]

              That has been Georgetown's practice for years and years. I got mine in 2001.
              Mock Trial with J. Reinhold! Mock Trial! Mock Trial with J. Reinhold!

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              • #8
                Re: Mock Trial and Law School Apps

                While extracurriculars may not help much on the application, Mock Trial is probably an invaluable precursor to classes like Evidence.

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                • #9
                  Re: Mock Trial and Law School Apps

                  Also, for your first round of December job applications for 1L summer jobs, employers don't have much information to distinguish you from other law students besides your undergraduate career. You won't even have your first semester's grades yet. Mock trial successes and law-related leadership roles from undergrad can help that. And I second those who say it prepares you for classes. If you've done trial, Torts, Crim, and Evidence will all be so much easier for you than your peers.

                  But applying? It can't hurt unless your participation tanks your LSAT/GPA. Don't take the LSAT the week after regionals. :P
                  But you look too young to be a lawyer.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Mock Trial and Law School Apps

                    Study for the LSAT. I wish I took a Kaplan course. Study for the LSAT. Study for the LSAT. Study for the LSAT.


                    But once you get there, mock trial is helpful. In Civil Procedure, I found the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure pretty easy to pick up especially since they frequently reference the FROE. If you get an Evidence professor that's big on practical application and not theory then that's an obvious advantage. Most schools offer a Trial Advocacy class (usually I and II) and that will be a cake walk. Often, law school mock trial is laughably bad. I found writing with persuasive language to be second nature while other people struggled.


                    More important, your public speaking skills will give you something to be better than your classmates at. Law school can do crazy things to your self esteem so when you have to do a presentation in Legal Research and Writing, or deliver an argument in Criminal Law, or when you enter the 1L moot court competition-- you'll have something to feel good about. If your law school allows you to audition for their competitive trial ad team, I'd do it. Even if it's just for 1L year and you decide to boot it and do moot court (which is what I did). It's something that gives feedback and recognition which is at a premium in law school.

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