Interscholastic Mock Trial
2008 National Champions
White Collar Crime
Mock Trial Competition
The University of Houston Law Center's Interscholastic Mock Trial Team consists of approximately fifty students who compete in a number of prestigious mock trial competitions throughout the country. The program is directed by Jackie Houlette. Ms. Houlette is a trial lawyer and a partner in the Houston-based firm of Houlette and Gray. She is a graduate of the University of Houston Law Center and, while in law school, was a member of the Law Center’s Interscholastic Mock Trial Team.
Benefits to the students on the teams are numerous. First, participating students attain a heightened understanding of the rules of evidence, criminal and civil procedure. In addition, students learn various areas of substantive law as they prepare for trials based on those areas of law. The practical experience of mock trial, combined with the research necessary for tournament preparation, provides team members with a diverse base of legal knowledge.
Second, students develop strong courtroom skills as they practice the various components of a trial. They learn the techniques involved in jury persuasion and gain a keen awareness of the significance of courtroom demeanor and body language.
Finally, it provides students with an opportunity to practice the teamwork necessary for successful private practice and provides them with an opportunity to meet practicing lawyers and judges from throughout the nation.
Mock Trial Tournaments attended by our teams include:
- National Trial Competition co-hosted by the American College of Trial Advocacy and the Texas Young Lawyers Association alternates each year between a civil and a criminal case file. There is a Regional competition first, with the winners moving to the National tournament. Our Mock Trial Team does very well in this competition each year, regularly making the national tournament.
- ATLA Student Trial Advocacy Competition hosted by the American College of Trial Advocacy is a competition devoted to personal injury and products liability litigation. There is first a Regional competition and then the winners go on to the National Tournament. Once again, our Mock Trial Team regularly makes the National Tournament and does well.
- Texas Invitational Mock Trial Competition is held each fall and is attended by most of the Texas Law Schools. Our Mock Trial Team won that competition in 1995 and successfully defended their title in 1996.
- Tournament of Champions is the most prestigious competition in the United States. The tournament is limited to only sixteen teams and is by invitation only. The teams are chosen from the top performing law schools in each federal appellate circuit, as determined by each school's performance at ATLA and NTC tournaments during the preceeding three years, as well as by several at-large bids granted to other law schools with strong performances. The 5th Circuit, in which the University of Houston Law Center competes, is considered the strongest in the nation. This fact makes us all the prouder that our Mock Trial Team secured the automatic invitation to the Tournament of Champions in 1997 and 1998.
- John Marshall Criminal Defense Mock Trial Tournament is held each year in Chicago, Illinois and is by invitation only. Based on Our Mock Trial Team's strong performances, it has been invited each year since 1997, despite the competition's tradition of rotating invitations among schools from each region.
- William Daniel Criminal Mock Trial Competition is held each year in Atlanta, Georgia, and is by invitation only. Invited to compete there for the first time in 1998, our Mock Trial Team has been invited back for this year's tournament.