Mock trial is a common practice around the country at universities, providing students will the opportunity to compete against other students in order to gain knowledge of the U.S. legal system. Due to the many potential benefits of such an organization, Oklahoma Christian University students are currently working together to create a mock trial program on campus.
Creators of the mock trial team for Oklahoma Christian—Turner Smith, Mariah Coulter, Jenna Lippe and faculty sponsor Brian Simmons—have been developing the program to give students the opportunity of learning experiences.
“Essentially, the best way to think about it is students participating in a simulation of what our legal system is like in the real world,” Smith said.
According to Smith, the students wanted to create something that would benefit not only them but also future students and they believe adding this program will provide the challenge to Oklahoma Christian students to compete with students from other universities.
“I wanted to be able to find a way to provide that for myself and all students who are going to come after me, so we can really bolster our pre-law program and give the students one more thing to attract them to OC and build their skills while they’re here,” Smith said.
Simmons will help find an expert volunteer whose profession is law. The expert will contribute by helping provide skills and information from an experienced point of view with the legal system.
“There will be a volunteer who will actually be a lawyer or retired lawyer that is an Oklahoma Christian alum or someone who is connected to the university,” Simmons said. “That individual will provide the legal expertise to prepare the students because there are some legal things that they know from years of experience, that I might not know a lot about.”
The mock trial program on campus is still in the early stages of creation. The organizers said they hope to have the program up and practicing by next fall, so there is still time for potential members to gather more information and join the team.
“We are going to put up flyers around campus with how you can contact us,” Lippe said. “There was an announcement in an email sent out by SGA with a survey to see who is interested in joining and getting involved, and lastly, we will be having a meeting—date to be determined—with everyone who is interested in joining.”
The program is open to anyone interested in joining and is not restricted to just pre-law majors. However, if a large group of students decides to join, there will be an interview process.
“There is a lot in mock trial that is not just for legal students—there is a huge element of theater and acting,” Smith said. “We have witness roles that need to be convincing, and we need people to get into character for that.”
Smith said the mock trial will add a unique experience and provide important opportunities to Oklahoma Christian’s extra-curricular activities on campus.
“I have been teaching college for almost 30 years,” Simmons said. “My experience is that the students that are the most successful in their college experience are the ones that get involved in activities outside the classroom.”
Those who are interested in finding out more information about the mock trial program should email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
“This is open to everyone interested, especially going to law school, yes, but also people who would like speaking practice, acting or are just interested in the legal system because I’m an engineering major and I’m helping start it,” Lippe said.