Creating Teams for a Mock Trial
Scott Bair, Ohio State University
The number of teams and the number of students on each team depends on the number of students in your class. Under most circumstances, the teams will consist of the plaintiffs, Beatrice Foods, and W.R. Grace. At a minimum, I suggest three students per team. Two students cannot prepare for all the issues presented in a mock trial. Typically in my mock trials at Ohio State, a team will consist of a geologist, a hydrogeologist, and an aqueous chemist. Colleagues have added a real estate expert and a well driller to the plaintiffs team. In the mock trials at Ohio State, students have more-or-less chosen to portray specific people involved in the actual trial.
For example, one student becomes Professor George Pinder, another becomes John Drobinski, another Dr. Jack Guswa, another Steve Maslansky, another Ellis Koch. This link provides a list of Who's Who from the actual trial. Portraying a specific individual enables a student to read excerpts from the actual trial testimony of that individual and to create or reject a strategy based on that testimony. Students can also read newspaper articles about the expert's testimony written by the staff from the Woburn Daily Times Mirror.
The number of parties in involved in the mock trial also depends on the number of students in the class. We have always had three teams in the Ohio State mock trials: plaintiffs, W.R. Grace, and Beatrice. A colleague added UniFirst as a fourth party (team) in the lawsuit and mock trial because he had a very large class.