Mock trial team gives students trial advocacy practice

Asa Daniels, Campus Carrier staff writer

The Berry College Mock Trial Association (BMTA) is a new way for students to gain experience in public speaking. The association meets to discuss skills and practices to prepare students for roles as attorneys and witnesses in a trial. Junior Annie Deitz took the lead in creating the group last semester and became its first president. She was driven by personal interest in applying skills for her future. 

“I’ve thought Mock Trial is pretty cool and I want to go to law school after I graduate from Berry, so that’s a really good experience to have,” Deitz said. 

The group aims to help students learn more about law and broaden their skills in argumentation. It is possible for anyone to join the BMTA, even those not interested in a career in law. Junior Hunter Berry, vice president, firmly believes that Mock Trial is for anyone who wants to improve their public speaking skills. 

“[It’s about] learning how to present yourself professionally at a tournament but also in real life, and learning how to speak confidently in front of your peers and in front of people who are higher up than you,” Berry said. 

Deitz is excited by the number of students who have expressed eagerness to join. 

“It’s been really awesome because a lot of people have been seriously interested in it, because there’s a large segment of students that want to go to law school at Berry and another large segment that’s just interested in trying things out,” Deitz said. 

Junior Joseph Rios, treasurer, believes that the association provides another opportunity for freshmen to get connected with like-minded individuals at Berry. 

“Mock Trial is a great way for students to get involved at Berry College and communities around Rome, Georgia,” Rios said. 

With its creation, the BMTA is currently being registered as part of the American Mock Trial Association (AMTA), the undergraduate collegiate association of the whole country. It provides the group with its case briefs that they then use to construct a court case as attorneys and witnesses. This year, it is a criminal case, Midlands vs. Ryder. 

Being a part of AMTA also allows students the opportunity to participate in tournaments throughout the year. 

“We will go to a tournament in February or March, depending on where we’re placed once we register, and we will go against other schools and compete with them through a court case,” Deitz said. 

According to the AMTA website, these tournaments foster undergraduate student development in leadership, public speaking, rhetoric, and persuasion through the experience of a trial. 

As for the future, Deitz looks forward to improving the association for future members. 

“I have another year to establish it and make sure that the people who run the organization after me are as excited about it as I am,” Deitz said. 

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