What’s Working: Millsaps College Mock Trial Team

JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) — The Mock Trial team is relatively new at Millsaps, but the Majors are already making a case to be considered among America’s best.

Last year, they made it all the way to Nationals, and this year they should be even better.

Courtroom drama takes on new meaning the realm of the mock trial. Students fill the role of attorney, plaintiff, defendant and more.

It sounds convincing, and that’s the point. The Millsaps Mock Trial team is quite familiar with the rules of evidence. And for each new trial, they pour over about 20 examples of case law.

“You see students who are able to think on their feet so quickly. Their interviewing skills are absolutely amazing,” said Harvey Fiser is a Professor of Business Law at Millsaps.

“That’s the most fun, is when you hear them say something, and you think of something really good to say back to them, and it’s that spontaneous, in the moment, when you’re like ‘man I got it’,” Pujan Patel said, who is majoring in Mathematics and Economics.

Trials take about three hours.

Teams earn points by knowing the evidence, using it efficiently and making compelling arguments. The presentation also plays a part.

Business Administration Major Alexander Nelson -Fryar will earn in Degree in Business Administration this May.

“I think you have to be a great public speaker, but you don’t have to start as one,” Nelson said. “Millsaps mock trial will get you there. You just have to have a passion for it.”

“I think all the world is a stage, and that comes from Shakespeare. And with public speaking, you have to be dramatic in tone,” Political Science major Samesa Hoskin said. “You have to have a certain demeanor so that you can portray your message properly and in an emotional way to the jury and to the judge, in order to persuade them to to side in your favor.”

Just six years in, the mock trial team is already one of the largest student organizations on campus, and at this rate, you could make a compelling argument for a bigger trophy case.

The Millsaps A-Team earned its fourth bid in four years to the opening round of nationals, which will be in Atlanta next month.

Last season, Millsaps was the 26th ranked Mock Trial team out of more than 600 teams nationwide.

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