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SIU Hosts New Mock Trial Competition



Last Saturday, SIU Law's trial team participated in a competition that was the first of its kind. SIU Law's trial team invited the trial team from the University of Missouri Kansas City law school to southern Illinois for a special tournament. The SIU team faced off against UMKC at the Williamson County Courthouse in Marion, Illinois. The competition centered on a civil trial, and the participants litigated the case from voir dire to verdict.

Illinois judges presided and community residents volunteered to serve as members of the jury. The jury's decision was the sole criteria in deciding the tournament winners.

Each school was allowed two teams to represent their school and given two weeks to prepare. The students had to research and prepare their arguments. The case was tried four times on Saturday, and SIU won three of the four cases.

Professor Chris Behan, Director of the SIU Trial Advocacy Program said that, from a teaching perspective, this has been an enlightening and gratifying experience. We're preparing our students to try an actual jury case under time pressure.” This event represents yet another example of SIU Law's commitment to providing opportunities for law students to "learn by doing."

After the trials were over, both teams shared a social dinner and had a short awards ceremony. It was a great experience for the teams from both schools. Special thanks goes to the SIU School of Law Mock Trial Board for planing and coordinating the logistics to make this competition a success.

The coaches from SIU and UMKC have written about this unique competition at The Advocacy Teaching Blog.