ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Hundreds of students from all over the Southwest region will descend upon the Second Judicial District Court in downtown Albuquerque.
It’s all for a competition that’s giving college students and aspiring attorneys a lesson in the judicial system.
For the next three days, the courtrooms will be filled with students from five different states including some from right here in New Mexico.
They’ll be going through mocks trials taken from real life cases.
“There’s only one way to try cases and that is by trying cases. There is no handbook on trials for dummies or any of those kinds of things. You have to get out and do it” said Judge Alan Mallot.
Judge Mallot has volunteered his time to serve as one of the judges for the regional portion of the “National Mock Trial” competition.
He says this is the best way for students to develop important skills like problem-solving, forming persuasive arguments, public speaking and thinking on the fly.
Each team is given a different scenario and assigned different sides of the case. The teams will be judged on presence, their grasp of the law and procedural issues, plus overall presentation.
Judge Mallot adds this does not only give students the opportunity to see how a trial really works but can help them decide if this is the particular area of law they’d like to pursue.
“They can come in here and say ‘You know, I did a mock trial and I hated it. I don’t want to be a trial lawyer.’ Or ‘I did a mock trial and I loved it. I want to follow up and be a litigator,'” said Judge Mallot.
The top two teams from the regional round will compete in the national finals in Austin later this year. The winner will get $10,000 towards their law school.
Judge Mallot says the public is welcome to watch the competition as well.