Mock trial is a combination of debate, theater and a real-life learning experience in small group communication. Collegiate mock trial teams consist of 6-10 members and Macalester typically fields at least two teams. While some members of the program aspire to law school, the full range of majors and professional interests are represented for the skills that are taught by mock trial are useful in any career.

While high school mock trial typically involves only a couple of tournaments, the intercollegiate tournament season stretches from October until April. Tournaments are typically four-round events and each team must be prepared to argue both sides of the case. In any given round, three of the students serve as attorneys and three serve as witnesses. The attorneys deliver opening statements, direct and cross examine witnesses, argue the admissibility of evidence, and deliver closing arguments. The witnesses are charged with breathing life into the affidavits that are provided with the case materials and creating interesting and credible characters. In mock trial, the whole is nearly always greater than the sum of its parts. Great teams are skilled at telling their client’s story in a dramatic and persuasive fashion that involves mastering the basic elements of drama. Over the course of season that stretches across both semesters, students also have ample opportunities to explore the fine art of effectively managing a small group charged with a difficult task.

Macalester started its Mock Trial Program in 1994. Since that time Macalester has made sixteen trips to the American Mock Trial Association’s National Championship Tournament, with 29 students winning All-American Awards. 


Mock Trial at Macalester is a member of the American Mock Trial Association (AMTA).