Spotlight - Berkeley Mock Trial Student Organization

Cal Mock TrialCal Mock Trial Student Organization Celebrates a Successful Season

The Cal Mock Trial team recently returned from Nationals, completing a highly successful season. Continuing the tradition of the past three years, the Cal Mock Trial program sent two of their four teams to The National Mock Trial Competition held in the nation’s capital. Berkeley’s two teams, Cal A and Cal B, were up against 48 teams from across the country. The Cal A team took sixth place and the Cal B team made honorable mention, the best the Cal B team has ever done at Nationals. A total of 17 students attended with three earning the distinction of All-Americans: All-American attorneys Josh Cahen and Rachel Yang, and All-American freshman witness Kanish Arhant-Sudhir. 

Nationals capped off a vigorous season. The Cal A team was undefeated through the Opening Round Championships at UC Irvine and took fourth place in the Downtown Tournament at NYU and ninth place at the Washington, D.C. Tournament. The Cal B team tied for third place at the UCLAssic Tournament and beat Stanford’s A team at Regionals, preventing them from attending Nationals. Berkeley sent three teams – Cal A, Cal B, and Cal C – to Regionals with the Cal A and Cal B teams advancing to Nationals. The Cal C team could not advance as each university is only allowed a maximum of two teams at Nationals.

Mock Trial competitions have two teams facing each other in a civil or criminal trial. They use the same case for the year but have to adjust to case changes throughout the year. The teams include three attorneys and up to five witnesses with three of those witnesses being called during the trial competition. The witnesses could be expert, character, or sympathetic witnesses. The attorneys and witnesses are in character the entire length of the trial – through opening statements, the plaintiff’s case, the defense’s case, and closing arguments. The teams are scored by two to five scoring judges, usually attorneys and occasionally judges.

The Cal Mock Trial program, started in 1999, has a strong commitment to excellence and is one of only a handful of programs across the nation that supports four competitive teams. This highly selective team of 28 students vets approximately 150 students who try out for 10 openings each year. 

The team's success is, in part, due to the leadership of Art Shartsis ('67 L&S, '71 Bolt) who has helped coach and support the team over a number of years. Many of our successful student organizations wouldn't exist without the leadership of alumni and support of philanthropy. To support Mock Trial and other student groups, please contact our development office (510.643.6309 or http://sa.berkeley.edu/dosa/lead).