Teaching an Entire Mock Trial Course

Scott Bair, Ohio State University


The Instructor's Activities & Assignments webpages contain materials to enable you to direct your class through the website with the aim of conducting the mock trial at the end of the term. The Instructor's Activities & Assignments contain teaching notes and pedagogical aids useful in leading the activities.

When I conceived the 'Science in the Courtroom' course for the undergraduate honors program at Ohio State University, I was able to incorporate the resources of a large comprehensive university. These resources included faculty and students in the Moritz College of Law, the Moot Courtroom in the law school, art majors to make charcoal sketches, professional videographers, and a budget that enabled me to hire a professional court recorder and to acquire most of the resources materials presented in website. Most instructor's likely will not have these resources. Listed below are additional ideas for implementing a mock trial course at a [link #Small College 'small university, liberal-arts college, or high school'].

The links below apply to conducting a mock trial at both large and small schools. These links present more details about planning, organizing, performing a mock trial.

Performing a Mock-Trial at a Small University, College, or High School

Creating a mock trial at a small university, college, or high school requires more creativity than I had to use when I created the one at Ohio State. For example, a county courthouse could be used in lieu of an moot courtroom. Local attorneys could be asked to participate and prepare students instead of law students. Here a couple more suggestions.
  • Combine W.R. Grace and Beatrice into a single defendant
  • Perform in lab session with more regulations and stipulations, such as only dealing with the groundwater flow questions (ignoring the role of the river and groundwater chemistry)
  • Have students role-play specific characters in the book
  • Have two students play newspaper reporters such as Time, Newsweek, U.S. News & World Report, The Onion, the a supermarket tabloid like World Weekly News