The purpose of the University of Illinois Trial Team is to provide an opportunity for students to acquire a command of trial advocacy, litigation and legal tactics, the American criminal justice system, and critical thinking skills through collegiate mock trial competitions.
The Illinois Trial Team
The University of Illinois Trial Team was established in 1989 by two U of I students. The program quickly became part of a nationwide movement of college mock trial. Several years later, the organization of over fifty students was consolidated and refined by U of I Professor Joseph Wenzel. Today the Illinois Trial Team organization consists of three teams of six to ten members. These teams compete all over the country from California to Massachusetts and against a wide variety of legalistic styles and schools.
Our Competitive Teams
For the first part of the competitive season, the organization breaks up into three teams. These three teams are composed of an even number of experienced and inexperienced members, and all three teams have approximately the same skill level. This division provides an opportunity for all rookie members to learn rules, techniques and skills from trial veterans, as well as giving a chance for captains to assess the strengths and weaknesses of each member. In the second and longest part of the season, members will be “re-stacked” into three tiered teams: Blue, Orange, and Bears. The most competitive members will be placed on Blue, while members who need more experience will be placed on Orange and Bears. In the final part of the season, all three teams compete for bids to the regional and national tournaments. As some teams qualify and others do not, some members may be re-stacked again to send a full roster to these tournaments.