Mock Trial Program

Two students discuss a case during a mock trial competition course in the KU Law courtroom.

Program Overview

Law students interested in advancing their advocacy skills in a courtroom setting can participate in KU Law's Mock Trial Program.

Through classroom, courtroom and competition experience, students learn advanced evidence and trial techniques and participate in simulated trials. While moot court replicates the appellate setting, mock trials allow students to practice lower-court trials. They represent a party, prepare a case for trial and try the case to a jury.

KU Law offers both an in-house Mock Trial Competition course and a Mock Trial Council that represents the school in national competitions. The Mock Trial Competition course is open to students during their first and second years of law school. Members of the Mock Trial Council are selected from those students who excel in the in-house Mock Trial Competition course.

The University of Kansas Mock Trial Team also offers a mock trial experience for undergraduate students of all majors. Many KU Law Mock Trial participants got their start in undergraduate programs.

Mock Trial Program Information

The Mock Trial Competition class is a week-long, one-credit course available at the end of the spring semester. The class is an intensive, learn-by-doing experience for students to practice trial advocacy skills, including opening statements, closing arguments, witness examinations, and use of exhibits.

Students participate in a mock trial at the end of the week, and top-performing students will be invited to join the Mock Trial Council.

2021 In-House Mock Trial Competition

  • Winners: Joan Lee and Caleb Hanlon
  • Top Advocate: Caleb Hanlon

2020 In-House Mock Trial Competition

  • Best Overall Advocate: Kirstyn Dvorak
  • Top Advocate in Final Round: Rachel Simon

Members of the Mock Trial Counsel continue developing their advocacy skills while competing nationally for KU Law in mock trial competitions.

Past competitions include:

  • National Mock Trial Competition
  • All Star Bracket Challenge Mock Trial Competition
  • TYLA (Texas Young Lawyers Association) National Mock Trial Competition
  • Queens County District Attorney’s Office Mock Trial Competition
  • Buffalo-Niagara Mock Trial Competition

2022-2023 Mock Trial Council

  • Katherine Carter
  • Kileigh Cerny
  • Emma Cleland-Leighton
  • Lexi Finley
  • Ashley Grams
  • Caleb Hanlon
  • Bryna Huber
  • Clay Karpowich
  • Kaelee Keesee
  • Joan Lee
  • Brandon Lock
  • Braydn Monhollon
  • Colin Murphy
  • Kevin Salazar
  • Lauren Stahl
  • Richard Weber

Student Testimonial: Mock Trial solidified decision to pursue a career in litigation

Joan Lee, L'23


Joan Lee

I was never involved in mock trial or debate club during my undergraduate years, and I recognized early on that I needed to grow myself in this area. Furthermore, I wanted to improve my public speaking skills and learn how to present a case in the courtroom. The Mock Trial Program is a fun and challenging opportunity to learn how to become effective advocates in a low stake environment. 

I am more confident speaking in front of crowds. I have learned how to approach issues in a creative manner and effectively communicate my client’s position to a judge/jury. In addition to that, I have also developed forecasting skills—thinking of all the possible scenarios and their future impacts—as I’ve brainstormed with my teammates on case strategy. I learned about proper courtroom etiquette. I have been able to improve upon making objections and providing responses using the Federal Rules of Evidence.

Participating in Mock Trial has solidified my decision to pursue a career in litigation. I am certain that the many valuable skills I have gained from this course will be transferred and utilized throughout my legal career.

Read more about Joan's Mock Trial experience


Adam Sokoloff
Attorney, Project for Innocence & Post-Conviction Remedies
Mock Trial Faculty Coach