Mock Trial Course - EXPLO

Mock Trial

“Law is not justice and a trial is not a scientific inquiry into the truth. A trial is the resolution of a dispute.” -Edison Haines

Unable to come to a settlement, you and your team are now going to trial. Your first step is to familiarize yourself with the facts. Develop the theme and theory of the case and prepare for trial. Sort through the evidence to see what you can get in and what you might keep out. Hone lines of questioning and prep your witnesses. You’ll sharpen your cross examination skills by considering the possibility that a witness becomes hostile and preparing effective objections. Draft compelling opening and closing arguments. And at the end of the session, have your day in court. Your legal team will meet the opposition in a Yale Law School courtroom, where the trial will be adjudicated by either a currently sitting judge or practicing attorney.

Who Should Take This Course?

Whether you love to argue the facts or prefer to debate back-and-forth during cross examination, this is the perfect course for students who want to practice their public speaking and problem-solving skills. Gain confidence in presenting arguments in an interactive and fast-paced way by jumping into the world of law, criminal justice, and civil procedure. No previous Mock Trial experience required.

Advisors + Past Speakers

  • Miguel Almodovar, Commercial + Civil Litigator
  • Philip Kent, Commercial + Civil Litigator
  • Rowena Moffett, Commercial + Civil Litigator
  • Catherine Peña Gonzalez, Criminal Defense Attorney
  • Lincoln Caplan, Lecturer + Research Scholar, Yale Law School
  • Fred Lawrence, Phi Beta Kappa CEO + Civil Rights Scholar
  • Brian Soucek, Professor Law, University of California-Davis
  • James Forman, Jr., Professor, Yale Law School
  • Michael Dorf, Professor of Law, Cornell University
  • Hon. Richard Gabriel, Justice, Colorado Supreme Court

Plan your summer


Course Highlights

  • Case Diagrams

    Chart the elements you intend to prove while acting on behalf of either the plaintiff or defendant.

  • Persuasive Speaking

    Analyze different styles of opening and closing statements, then write and deliver your own, engaging in self-reflection and group critique as you improve.

  • Evidence + Procedure

    Practice the rules of civil procedure, such as introducing evidence, questioning a witness, and admitting exhibits into the court record.

  • Career Exploration

    In this course, you will meet practicing attorneys, professors, and legal scholars to learn about their work, while getting advice on law school, current legal issues, and what a legal career looks like in practice.

The best part about Mock Trial was learning to solve a problem by listening to other people and hearing their perspectives, which I think is important because I believe in justice. I also enjoyed learning about the ins and outs of the courtroom.

Advisors + Past Speakers

Miguel Almodovar

Commercial + Civil Litigator

Miguel Almodovar is an attorney with Jacobs & Rodzich, LLC based in New Haven. Almodovar practices in the areas of commercial litigation, construction law, creditors’ rights, personal injury, land use, and housing law. He received his Bachelor of Arts from the University of Connecticut and his Juris Doctor from the University of Connecticut School of Law.

Philip Kent

Commercial + Civil Litigator

Phillip Kent is a Commercial and Civil Litigator Partner at Susman, Duffy & Segaloff P.C. He handles a wide range of private and institutional clients in commercial, employment, housing, bankruptcy, medical malpractice, personal injury, and family and criminal matters. He does pro bono work with Lawyers For Children America and Statewide Legal Services.

Rowena Moffett

Commercial + Civil Litigator

Rowena Moffett is a principal attorney with the New Haven-based law firm of Brenner, Saltzman and Wallman, LLP. She is part of BSW’s litigation practice group, where she specializes in commercial, employment, real estate, land use, and probate litigation. She recently served as President of the New Haven County Bar Association. Moffett is a member of the Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society, and a graduate of the University of Connecticut School of Law, where she was the editor of the Connecticut Law Review.

Catherine Peña Gonzalez

Criminal Defense Attorney

Catherine Peña Gonzalez is a staff attorney in the Criminal Defense Practice of Brooklyn Defender Services, a public defender organization representing clients that cannot afford an attorney. Gonzalez was born in the Dominican Republic and immigrated to New York City when she was nine years old. A graduate of New York University and Pace University School of Law, Gonzalez spent many years advocating for those in underserved communities – even prior to becoming a lawyer.

Lincoln Caplan

Lecturer + Research Scholar, Yale Law School

Lincoln Caplan is a well known author and journalist currently serving as Yale Law School’s Truman Capote Visiting Lecturer In Law. Caplan is the author of several books on the law, including American Justice 2016: the Political Supreme Court. Also a staff writer for The New Yorker, Caplan is a regular contributor to American Scholar and Harvard Magazine. Caplan is a graduate of both Harvard University and Harvard Law School.

Fred Lawrence

Phi Beta Kappa CEO + Civil Rights Scholar

Fred Lawrence is a renowned scholar, teacher and attorney. He currently serves as the 10th Secretary and CEO of the Phi Beta Kappa Society, the nation’s oldest and most prestigious honor society. Lawrence has a distinguished career in higher education, where he has served as President of Brandeis University and Dean of the George Washington University Law School. He is the author of Punishing Hate: Bias Crimes Under American Law, which is an exploration of bias-motivated violence and its treatment in United States courts.

Brian Soucek

Professor Law, University of California-Davis

Brian Soucek is a Professor of Law at University of California-Davis School of Law. Before earning his J.D. from Yale Law School in 2011, Soucek earned his Ph.D. in Philosophy from Columbia University in 2006. Soucek is a renowned author and expert in the areas of immigration law and sexual orientation law. His articles have been cited by the Sixth and Seventh Circuits as well as leading casebooks on Immigration Law and Sexual Orientation Law.

James Forman, Jr.

Professor, Yale Law School

James Forman, Jr. is a professor of law at Yale Law School where he teaches Constitutional Law and legal seminars on race and criminal procedure. He is the Pulitzer Prize winning author of Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America. Forman is a legal scholar in the areas of criminal procedure and criminal law policy, juvenile justice and education law and policy. At Yale Law School, his criminal justice students study alongside men incarcerated in a Connecticut prison.

Michael Dorf

Professor of Law, Cornell University

Michael C. Dorf (F) is the Robert S. Stevens Professor of Law at Cornell University. Michael has authored numerous journal articles and books and was co-editor of the casebook and related materials Constitutional Law (West, 2015 and yearly updates). Michael holds an A.B. and a J.D. from Harvard University. He served as a law clerk for Judge Stephen Reinhardt of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and then for Justice Anthony M. Kennedy of the Supreme Court of the United States, and maintains an active pro bono practice. Before joining the Cornell faculty, Mike taught at Rutgers-Camden Law School for three years and at Columbia Law School for thirteen years. His popular writing appears regularly in Newsweek, Verdict, and on his blog, Dorf on Law.

Hon. Richard Gabriel

Justice, Colorado Supreme Court

Justice Richard Gabriel has served on the Supreme Court of Colorado since 2015 and served as a judge on the Colorado Court of Appeals beginning in 2008. A 1987 graduate of University of Pennsylvania School of Law, Gabriel spent 20 years in private legal practice before being appointed to the bench. During that time, his practice focused on commercial law, intellectual property law, probate, and products liability litigation.