The program first came to Concordia in the 1980s and the college boasts a 1995 national runner-up finish among six overall national appearances.
“The program is an important part of an ongoing effort to develop further the college’s pre-law programming,” said political science professor Dr. Rebecca Moore. “It’s also a program that can potentially benefit Concordia students from a broad range of majors and it’s open to all.”
Moore is one of the people responsible for bringing mock trial back to campus and students in the program have the benefit of learning from someone with plenty of experience in the courtroom. Assistant Clay County Attorney Lori Conroy is serving as the group’s coach, which had its first meeting in January.
“Lori brings with her a wealth of courtroom and teaching experience and genuine enthusiasm for sharing her expertise and talents with students,” Moore said. “We are grateful that she’s willing to share her time and talent with the Concordia community.”
History professor Dr. Vince Arnold believes that having mock trial back on campus will make a positive impact on the pre-law curriculum at Concordia.
“We have a great deal of success in the forensics program,” he said. “Having mock trial again will help our students who are thinking of law as a career. It is part of making a more robust pre-law program.”
A mock trial is exactly as the name implies – a lifelike, student-led court trial in which a case is presented, along with evidence, discussion, and a final verdict. Like an actual trial, the opening of the court precedes a step-by-step process of opening statements, followed by a direct examination by the plaintiff. Next is the cross-examination and direct examination by the defendant’s attorneys, followed by the closing arguments by both parties and a verdict.
“Even in the short time I have been participating in mock trial, I already feel as though I have a much better understanding of court proceedings, which is obviously very helpful in terms of reaching my initial goal of preparing myself for law school,” Isaac Infanger ’21 said. “While challenging and time consuming, I have had a lot of fun learning and getting to know Lori and the rest of the team.”
While the program obviously does not produce real-life sentencing, it does provide students in the program a real-life experience in which critical thinking and acute problem-solving skills are needed, which makes mock trial an exciting opportunity for those, like Infanger, with an interest in a law career.
“The thing that I am most excited about is getting to start competing in the fall,” Infanger said.