Mock Trials: Not just for law students

By Kelsey Grumblatt

The UK Mock Trial Club is a student-run and student-led trial advocacy team that competes with more than 600 other teams to solve a case presented to them each year.

The team formed in 2007 and has won the Spirit Award every year at competitions since, meaning it portrayed the characters the best.

The A Team hosted its first invitational on Oct. 29 and was undefeated.

Amy Thompson, now Amy Carpenter, founded the team.

“I competed on my high school’s mock trial team and loved it, so when I came to UK and saw that no such organization existed, I was not about to let that stop me from competing,” she said.

The club takes one case every year and the team members act it out as if in a real courtroom, portraying lawyers and witnesses.

There are two judges at the competitions, who vote on which team performed better in each role inside the courtroom.

Lindsay Baranowski, the club’s president, said people from all majors can participate.

“It is not just for those who want to go to law school,” she said.

Baranowski wants to go to law school, so the club appealed to her because it can help those who are interested in law decide if they really want to go into it, she said.

“It’s a good way to give people an idea of, ‘Do I really want to be in a courtroom?’ and it is just overall a great avenue to try things out,” Baranowski said.

Carpenter does not have a law background, but she said that she started it out of her passion for drama, public speaking, arguing, writing and justice.

The team is celebrating its fifth season of being the only student-run and student-led competitive mock trial team in the area, something that Baranowski likes.

It “allows us to run the organization and build our leadership skills on our own,” she said.

The team is currently looking to recruit four to five people to join one of the three teams, all of which take turns competing, but all do the same thing.

A member of the inaugural team, David Carpenter, said the club can improve public speaking, writing, debating and acting skills. “It never looks bad on a resume, either,” he said.

“Competitions are energizing environments where the mildest member on the team can suddenly become the fiercest debater you’ve ever seen,” he said.

The club practices at 7:30 p.m. on Monday in the Student Center room 251, for those interested in joining.

For more information, contact Baranowski at [email protected].