Anonymous User wrote:
xChiTowNx wrote:There is a tryout for the top mock trial team at my TTT - should I concern myself with the tryout or focus on getting real world office experience? Currently have an externship and a witness exam skills course that is a prerequisite to try out for another profs trial team this semester.
Does mock trial or moot court look better on resume for wanting to be a prosecutor or does it not matter?
Trial skills are definitely more translate-able to the job.
Honestly, the "extracurricular trial/moot court does not matter" shtick is kind of over-generalized. Mock trial was the strength I had going into my interviews. If those skills are something you spend a lot of time developing, and you can actually give them a taste of your ability during the interview process, then that is a real asset that can set you apart from someone who has simply done a lot of volunteer work. There are many dedicated, personable people who have spent a lot of time volunteering and working at clinics, but those hours don't mean they can stand up in court and advocate when they start their first day on the job. Time spent investing in your trial skills, however, can mean exactly that.
I also think people sometimes misunderstand the true problem, which is with the applicant's method of expressing their skills rather than the employer's simply being unimpressed by them. For a long time I struggled to properly market
my trial skills. Just putting down on the resume that you've done mock trial a lot, or gotten onto a prestigious team or even done exceedingly well at some competitions is not really being true to what this activity does for you. From one year's worth of competition, that means you've done a lot: you've worked on these cases for probably hundreds of hours, theorizing, strategizing, honing and practicing; you've tried them a dozen times between all your scrimmages and competitive rounds; and you've probably been involved in at least some capacity as a leader/mentor/teacher to other people. Those are all important skills that public defender and prosecutor offices want
you to have, but part of the problem is that many of the people who do the hiring have not even the faintest idea that all of that work is involved.
For one of my competitions, I was given a 300-page fact pattern and had 24 hours to work with it before I would have to try it. The following day I did two four-hour trials against top-notch competition, without using any scripts, and then I had the rest of the evening to go over 200 pages of fact pattern changes and do it all over again tomorrow. After the fourth trial was completed on the second day, I then had to take an hour-long deposition of a real PhD, defend an hour-long deposition of another PhD, and then take home another 100 pages of case changes that night in prep for the third day of competition. The next day, in-between rounds, I had 30 minutes to formulate and argue a motion in limine to a new change in witness testimony before the sixth, final trial. Distilling all of that down to a "Won [name of competition]" was a mistake I made for a long time on my resume; changing it to reflect what I actually did for the competition resulted in getting a lot more admiration and questioning about it during the interview. Many older attorneys have no idea what mock trial is or why it can be a big deal. They think it's like the law school theater group or something and they give you an "Aww, that sounds cute!" line when you tell them about it. This is especially true if your recruiter or interviewer is an HR person. I think this will change as more people get exposed to what it is over the next few decades, but for now it takes work to communicate its importance.