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Letter from the Editor

Greetings, fellow mockers!

Like most former mockers, I am a competitor at heart. I enjoy the thrill of the competition and the flurry of ballots entering the tab room. As a coach, the thrill came from teaching and watching students improve week by week. But after competing and then coaching for nine years, this is my first year without a team. So this year, I faced what many of you are facing now: a life without mock trial. No pouring over a fresh case, no rewriting a cross question to get the phrasing just right, no agonizing over mountains of terrible themes to find something workable.
But don’t worry, I’m here to tell you that there are ways to stay connected to mock trial...Read more.



By:  Justin Bernstein

"I’m looking for a number..."  - Northwood University’s All-American closer Jonathan Hartsfield and many imitators since 2009
*   *   *
Last Thanksgiving, my mother asked me an interesting question.  How many people does it take to run college mock trial? I told her, “a lot.”  I think she was disappointed.  After all, she’s a Jewish mother, and for years she’d been bragging to her friends that I run the whole thing by myself.  But then I started thinking about the answer.  I started looking for a number.  I knew there were 28 people on our board of directors.  But that’s just the tip of the iceberg...Read more.
Interested in judging? Email us to find out more. Information about AMTA tournaments will be posted here as it becomes available. 
The 2016 National Championship Final Round DVD will be available soon! To purchase your copy of a past national championship DVD, click here. 
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Mock Trial Leads to Diverse Careers: What's Your Story?

By:  Justin Bernstein

The best mock trial competitor I've ever seen was Bryan Caforio.  His first year competing for UCLA (2003) was my last year at UC Berkeley.  Bryan had everything.  He was smart, articulate, and unflappable.  He was dynamic enough to own the room, but effortless enough to keep judges from complaining he was "over the top."  One of my teammates called him simply, The Voice.  Usually while swooning.  Apparently, judges agreed: Bryan competed for three years, winning two national championships and three All-American Awards, and is the only person I know who opened and closed in national final round victories....Read more

AMTA is excited to announce the creation of our How AMTA Works video series. Click here to visit our YouTube channel!

AMTA Alumnus Uses Mock Trial Skills to Pay His Bills...and Yours


By:  Devon Holstad

Mock trial skills transcend a career in law, a truth to which Ben Kurland (Tufts, 2015), attests.  Kurland never gave a passing thought to going into law, despite spending over four years competing in mock trial during college and high school.  “I enjoyed mock trial because it was with people that I liked, and it was something that was fun and intellectually engaging,” Kurland said.  His brother, Julian, became a lawyer, though Kurland notes that “we both took different paths but ended up in the same place.”  After college, Kurland dabbled in graphic design before moving home to Nashville with his brother to found their company, BillFixers.
BillFixers is a company that aims to help consumers save money in negotiations with service providers...Read more

Developing AMTA: Building a National Network

By:  Mark Smith

AMTA’s Development Committee has been hard at work building partnerships with new tournament hosts, reconnecting with former competitors and alumni, and creating relationships with other organizations...Read more

Congratulations to our 2016 National Champion, Yale University, and Runner-Up, University of Virginia!

AMTA's Scholars

By:  Brandon Harper

Every year, thousands of college graduates from across the country continue their studies through one of several academic scholarship programs.  Through awards like the Rhodes, Marshall, Truman, and Fulbright scholarships, students add to their already strong base of knowledge, and expand their academic horizons.  Close to home, students and alumni of the American Mock Trial Association enjoy incredible success in being nominated by their academic institutions and being selected as finalists and recipients of these terrific awards...Read more

AMTA Spotlight: Distinguished Alumna, Shana Knizknik

By: Toby Heytens

AMTA was founded more than 30 years ago, and, in that time, tens of thousands of people have competed in undergraduate mock trial. Many of us know AMTA alums with interesting backgrounds or who have gone on to do great things. But, too often, we only know about people with whom we competed or coached. With AMTA Spotlight, we seek to change that by profiling former AMTA participants whose backgrounds, experiences, or current life would be of interest to our broad readership.
Our second alumni profile is of Shana Knizhnik. A 2010 graduate of Columbia University and a 2015 graduate of NYU Law School, Knizhnik is most famous outside the AMTA community as the creator and curator of the Notorious R.B.G Tumblr and the co-author of the book Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, which the New York Times review described as “a cheery curio,” “entertaining,” and “a playful project … [that] asks to be read seriously.” She spoke with AMTAConnect from Philadelphia, where she is currently clerking for Judge Dolores Sloviter of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit...Read more.

The Game Within the Game

By:  Justin Bernstein

It used to be simple.  Before each trial, the student leaders from each team would attend a captains meeting, pick their witnesses, grab two ballots, and head to the courtroom.  Witness selection was fairly predictable: other than a few “swing witnesses” -- witnesses available to both teams -- teams could essentially guarantee their witness lineups.  But in the last decade, captains’ meetings have become far more strategic and complex, and witness lineups have become far less predictable.  As a result, today’s competitors have to be ready for more contingencies in trial...Read more

Click here to purchase prior-year case materials, mock trial textbooks, graduation cords, tournament supplies, and championship DVDs!
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To view photos of the 2016 National Championship hosted by Furman University, click here
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