Masters Students Participate in Mock Trial


January 13, 2022
Richard Bailey, Ph.D.

Students in the Master’s in Sport and Athletic Administration program completed a mock trial as their final project for the Legal and Ethical Aspects of Law course. The mock trial was the culmination of the entire semester and incorporated a variety of legal terms and concepts from the course.

On November 17th, the class participated in a formal mock trial at the Gonzaga University Law School’s courtroom, with an attorney acting as judge and other professionals acting as the jury. Each side presented their cases including opening statements, calling witnesses, presenting evidence, cross-examining witnesses, and closing statements while zealously advocating for their fictitious clients.

Students were divided into plaintiff and defendant teams and given a case packet centered on a hypothetical hockey fight and the tort claims of negligence and battery. Individual students were tasked with coordinating the group in a partner role, doing direct or cross examination, or acting as witnesses and the group. Throughout the semester trial advocacy, legal analysis, public speaking, debate, and collaboration skills were discussed both in the context of the mock trial and how these skills can be applied to various careers in sport.

The trial was a terrific success and developed a great deal of camaraderie with the class. This assignment, focused on the concept of coopetition, which requires a great deal of collaboration and teamwork. The students excelled in those areas. Additionally, the students demonstrated clear understanding of burdens of proof, elements of torts, how cases are proven in court, persuasive techniques, and how to anticipate questions and prepare responses.

These vital skills carry over into a wide variety of other areas of professional development including interview skills, collaboration, workplace etiquette, problem solving, and collaboration.