The USC Trial Advocacy program competes on the American Mock Trial Association circuit. Our program is open to all undergraduate students at USC, regardless of Mock Trial experience or major. Under the coaching of skilled trial attorneys, team members learn how to hone their craft in order to argue objections, present speeches, conduct witness examinations, and portray witnesses effectively. We welcome charismatic individuals, strong public speakers and agile thinkers to try out for the team.
Our program is unique from other clubs in that you also receive class credit for your hard work! You must register for POSC 398 for 1, 2, or 4 units in the fall and spring semesters of the year you compete. All members meet for classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7-9 PM; during competition season, students often meet outside of class as well. The USC Trial Advocacy team attends weekend tournaments held in Las Vegas, Arizona, Texas, and all over California. Mock Trial is a serious time commitment, but our members still have time for Greek life, the USC Trojan Marching Band, ROTC, and jobs on and off campus.
We hold tryouts in the fall semester. Don't want to miss the opportunity to join us? Be sure to sign up for our newsletter and we'll let you know when we hold tryouts.
USC Mock Trial offers the best law school preparation possible. Thanks to our network, we have placed students in internships at offices like that of the LA County Public Defender, and we have partnered with Blueprint, a company that specializes in LSAT test prep.
Additionally, we hold a Pre-Law Speakers' Series. In the past, we have had appearances from attorney Jonathan A. Rapping, founder of Gideon's Promise and focus of the HBO documentary Gideon's Army, as well as from USC Trial Advocacy alumni from across the country. The Pre-Law Speakers' Series events are open to all USC undergraduate students — not just team members!
When the competitive season of Mock Trial draws to a close, we don't pack up — not when there is still work to be done. Effective advocacy is essential to protecting the civil rights of others, and our members use the skills we've developed throughout the year to do just that. USCMT travels across the country to help detained migrants find a voice in our legal system, fights to hold the police accountable for excessive use of force on people of color, and advocates for the poor and homeless to be provided social services they desperately need.
The ultimate goal of this program is to make a difference — for students to use what they've learned to fight the good fight.
Pictured is Stepan Petrosyan volunteering at a migrant relief shelter in Harlingen. Harlingen is a South Texas town right on the border, home to the Port Isabel Detention Center as well as ProBar, a group of pro-bono attorneys defending migrants in detention. There, members from the USC Trial Advocacy team have helped train pro-bono attorneys to fight for evidence necessary to defend detained migrants, and have paired over 100 children with attorneys to defend them.