1L Guide: What’s the Davis Competition?

by Sarah Ricciardi

The 8th Annual William R. Davis ’55 Mock Trial Competition is just around the corner, and there is still time to sign up!   According to this year’s coordinator and one of last year’s winners, Laura Ann Keller, “Davis is the best experience you can have your first year.  It is the only opportunity as a 1L to actually practice being an advocate outside of the classroom.  It’s great preparation for your moot court course – and it’s fun!”

Incidentally, no experience is necessary.  In fact, neither of last year’s winners had ever participated in mock trial prior to the competition.

If you are still deciding whether you want to participate, here is a quick breakdown of what to expect.  The competition lasts a week to ten days, depending on how far you advance.  You have ten days to prepare before the preliminary rounds.  Teams consist of two members.  If you do not have a partner, not to worry – the Mock Trial Society will assign you one.  Each team will prepare one side (plaintiff or defendant) for the entire competition.  You will be notified of your side when the problem is released.  One team member presents the opening statement and the other presents the closing statement.  Each team member performs one direct and one cross-examination per round.  It is a closed-universe so everything you need is provided to you in the competition packet.

The timeline is as follows:  Wednesday, October 4th at 5pm is the deadline for signing up on TWEN.  The problem is released that evening– at midnight – also on TWEN.  Preliminary rounds begin Monday, October 14th.  Each team participates in two rounds throughout the week.  Quarterfinals will be held on Monday, October 21st; semifinals on Tuesday, October 22nd; and finals on Wednesday, October 23rd. Mock Trial Society members judge the preliminary rounds; local practitioners judge the quarterfinals and semifinals; and actual Connecticut judges preside over the finals.

While it may seem intimidating amidst your already packed academic schedules, the Davis competition is entirely doable, and it looks great on resumes.  If you have any questions or need more convincing, contact Laura Ann Keller at lauraannkeller@gmail.com