This past January, students Annabelle Worrell ‘25 and Zachary Vargas ‘24 turned a long-awaited vision into reality.
As pre-law students and members of Fairfield University’s Bellarmine Pre-Law Society, their desire was to develop a Mock trial segment that could be integrated into the broader sphere of the Pre-Law Professional Development Program.
As the head of the Bellarmine Pre-Law Society, Aaron Weinstein Ph.D. of Fairfield University’s Politics Department was enthralled at the idea of the addition of the Mock Trial.
“I have wanted to bring Mock Trial to Fairfield for several years, but there was never a perfect model,” Weinstein reflected.
It was Worrell and Vargas’ work that presented “a thoughtful and clear plan of action,” and it was the collaboration of students and faculty that led to this extension of the society.
Given that Mock Trial is a subsection of Pre-Law, a prerequisite for participation is membership in the society. Weinstein emphasizes that there are no GPA or major/minor requirements that merit eligibility, merely an interest in law. This enables a wide breadth of students to further explore their passion for the legal field while simultaneously exploring offerings including LSAT prep, job shadows and faculty and alumni mentorship.
After conducting a preliminary survey of Pre-Law students in February, Weinstein was able to quantify how extensive the interest in Mock Trial was among society members. The majority of students noted how a Mock Trial segment would improve their educational experience at Fairfield, while also providing a forum to form friendships and engage in meaningful teamwork with others sharing the same academic inclinations.
“Professional development is such an important aspect that the university provides for students,” says Vargas. Bolstering the Pre-Law Society will grant students further guidance in their applications to law school while also providing real-world exposure to what is entailed in working in the legal profession.
Mock Trial is an avenue for Pre-Law students to further their understanding of the legal process through competition and teamwork. It is an additive to both coursework and professional development work within the Pre-Law Society.
Mock Trial will allow students to further their litigation skills and hone in on which segments of the law pique their interest.
As Worrell says, “We want students to be engaged, passionate leaders and participation in Mock Trial is an excellent way to improve those leadership and communication skills.”
She envisions Mock Trial as an avenue for students to “channel their passions into educational development as they prepare for future careers in law.”
As a precursor to Mock Trial’s launch in the fall of 2023, Worrell and Vargas conducted an introductory meeting to give students further insight into what participation would entail.
Given that the upcoming academic year will be the commencement of Mock Trial, the student co-founders deemed it beneficial to craft distinct itineraries for each semester. The fall semester will be dedicated to furthering students’ knowledge of the law and equipping them with the tools necessary to effectively litigate and debate. Building upon this foundation, the spring semester will see students compete using knowledge acquired during the introductory semester.
Professor Weinstein, and co-founders Annabelle Worrell and Zachary Vargas are enthralled at the prospect of furthering student involvement in Pre-Law offerings through the addition of Mock Trial. Participation is always welcomed and encouraged.
Students who are interested in the Pre-Law Society should contact Professor Weinstein at firstname.lastname@example.org.