Center for Housing Equity and Opportunity in Eastern Connecticut launches with inaugural gathering at Conn
Sustained! The Connecticut College Mock Trial Team was selected by the American Mock Trial Association (AMTA) to host a 2023 regional competition during the weekend of Feb. 18 and 19, 2023.
A total of 24 teams, including from Yale, UConn, MIT, Tufts, Wesleyan and Trinity, among others, convened on campus for opening ceremonies and four rounds of competition across two days in classrooms set up as courtrooms.
Using the same civil law case they had been studying for six months, team members alternated between arguing the plaintiff side, acting as defense and serving as witnesses.
Regional attorneys, judges, alumni, parents and upper-level law school students volunteered to serve as judges, scoring all participants across a strict rubric. Two officials from AMTA tabulated, scored and oversaw protocol. Trophies were awarded for best individual, best team, and in other categories.
The top overall trial teams were Yale, UMass Amherst, Tufts, MIT, Boston College and UConn, all of whom will move on to the Championship Series Tournament.
“While Conn was not an overall winner, the Mock Trial Team did exceptionally well for a younger team—most members are sophomores and first-year students,” said Associate Director of the Hale Center for Career Development Deb Brunetti, who serves as Conn’s pre-law adviser and staff liaison to the Mock Trial Team. “They tied for 8th on their win-loss record. They had to combine their practices with developing and supporting the logistical requirements as hosts.”
Brunetti praised team captain Lily Rosan ’25 for taking the lead on coordinating the event, being recognized as the top “attorney” in one of the trials and staying concurrent with her coursework.
Rosan said the competition was particularly exciting because it was AMTA’s first regional series since 2019, before COVID. “Most of the scrimmages and practice competitions we’ve attended have all been virtual, so it was great to finally be back in person with other teams from all around the area,” she said.
For Rosan, a few moments stood out from the weekend. The first was during the opening ceremonies, when the hosts welcomed the visiting teams to the competition and kicked off the weekend.
“It was really amazing to see the 1962 Room completely full of people all excited to be there and to compete in person for the first time in so many years,” she said.
Another was right before the first trial of the weekend. “We were in a classroom in Bill Hall waiting for the judges to come in so we could start Round 1, and the team we were competing against, SUNY Albany’s A team, was so kind and friendly,” she said. “Members of both teams were playing games together and chatting to pass the time, and we stayed in contact with them throughout the weekend. It was really cool to make friends from another team and congratulate each other. We are planning to stay in contact with their team and hopefully scrimmage together next fall.”
Treasurer Ellie Wagner ’23 also says meeting new people was a highlight of the event.
“Some of my favorite moments this weekend came from hanging out with the other teams before and after rounds and in the hallways. It was really fun to meet new people with shared interests. Even though we were competitors, we made some friends this weekend.”
Both Rosan and Wagner say Mock Trial has given them the opportunity to develop skills that will help them now and in the future.
“It has definitely helped my public speaking skills, as well as my ability to think and respond to questions on my feet,” Wagner said. “It was also a good opportunity to practice professionalism, especially in the ways we interacted with the judges and the other teams. Mock Trial tournaments like these are great networking opportunities for those looking to go into law-related fields, as many of the judges are actually practicing judges and attorneys from the area.”
Rosan added, “Whether you’re interested in legal work or not, the Mock Trial Team is a great way to develop skills in critical thinking, reading comprehension and public speaking.”