Mock Trial at Patrick Henry College

“Mock trial is an unparalleled way to learn courtroom etiquette, to gain confidence as an advocate, and to work as a team to perfect your case. It provides what mere lectures cannot: realistic practice for life beyond the classroom.”
– Ryan McDonald, Government, Class of 2016 –
"Through engaging in trial simulations in competition with teams from other institutions, students develop critical thinking and public speaking skills, as well as a knowledge of legal practices and procedures." 
— American Mock Trial Association
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Mock Trial introduces students to the engaging world of civil and criminal trial advocacy. PHC students compete in the American Mock Trial Association (AMTA) against more than 700 teams from over 400 programs around the country, including many from the nation’s top ivy-league institutions. Fierce competition hones their critical thinking skills and equips them to clearly articulate passionate and well-reasoned legal argumentation. The late Dr. Frank Guliuzza introduced Mock Trial to PHC in 2008, and it has been a staple of the forensics program ever since.

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Patrick Henry College’s top Mock Trial Team took 4th place at the American Mock Trial Association’s 37th National Championship Tournament.

Team 1014, placing 4th, was the only team to take a ballot away from Harvard during the preliminary rounds. Team 1015, finishing 11th in their division with a record of 6-0-0, took two ballots from the defending national champions, UMBC, in their fourth round. 


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PHC Places 3rd Overall at Mock Trial National Tournament

Two Teams Win Bids to 2022 National Championship

The Process

In Mock Trial, students compete in groups of 6-10 to perform dynamic, responsive, and flawlessly synchronized jury trials on both civil and criminal issues. Students play the roles of attorneys and witnesses and prepare cases—including opening and closing arguments, witness testimony, and direct- and cross-examinations. Mock Trial develops students’ knowledge of the federal rules of evidence, courtroom procedure, witness examination, case-building, and more. Every element of the three hour trials is graded, making Mock Trial an activity that requires exquisite teamwork and endurance to be successful.


"Every Mock Trial win is special because you can’t do it on your own. All members of your team have to be on their game and work well together.”
– Brenna Zimmerman, Literature, Class of 2018 –


christopher baldacci cooper millhouse mock trial awardsWhy Mock Trial?

There are a lot of reasons PHC students choose to compete in Mock Trial. Pre-law students find mock trial valuable for the introduction it provides them to trial advocacy, procedure, and federal rules of evidence. Even students with no interest in law school love Mock Trial for its ability to develop communication skills, critical thinking, and teamwork.


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Explore our Pre-Law Program

Join one of the best pre-law programs in the nation. We believe that God calls Christians to serve in every area of culture, including law and government. By training leaders to communicate effectively, Christian students will be equipped to excel in their sphere of influence because they carry the truth and glory of God. 

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Learn more about our world-class forensics program.

Competitive debate motivates students to exceed the bare minimum of knowledge, and builds the ability to articulate and defend a position against repeated attacks. Because of its rigorous and effective approach to education, forensics at PHC are not extra-curricular but co-curricular, a fully-recognized and vital element of PHC Academics.


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