DA Katz hosts 8th-annual mock trial competition featuring nationally ranked law schools

mock trial
Rutgers School of Law captured the Queens District Attorney’s Office 8th annual mock trial competition returning as an in-person event since the pandemic shut down the city in March 2020. (Courtesy of Queens DA’s office)

Future trial lawyers brought their talents to Queens earlier this month as Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz hosted her office’s eighth-annual Mock Trial Competition.

St. John’s University School of Law, Brooklyn Law School and Hofstra University, Maurice A. Deane School of Law were among the area institutions that sent teams to compete, but it was Rutgers School of Law that emerged victorious. This was the first time the event was held in person since the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak in March 2020.

New York Supreme and Criminal Court judges presided as law school students competed for senior prosecutors and members of the defense bar. Rutgers School of Law defeated 15 other teams from top-tier, nationally ranked law schools.

“I am impressed with the exceptional performances of the teams in this year’s mock trial competition and excited that we could convene in person for the first time [since 2020],” Katz said.

Rutgers School of Law won the competition that included schools from as far away as Texas, Illinois and Pennsylvania, which sent the competition’s second-place team from Drexel University Thomas R. Kline School of Law. During the mock trial tournament, each team of second-year law students studied a fact pattern and prepared a mock trial from the competition, which began on Friday, March 3.

The competition consisted of two preliminary rounds, quarterfinals, semifinals and a final round. Judges from Queens and Brooklyn counties volunteered to preside, along with seasoned prosecutors and defense attorneys who acted as evaluators and bailiffs. Participants received feedback each round and a culminating score from evaluators.

Sponsored by the Queens District Attorney’s Office, the mock trial competition was supervised by staff from the DA’s office in litigation training, the Homicide Bureau, the Special Victims Bureau and the Hate Crimes Bureau.

“For their service and mentorship to the participants, I want to thank my colleagues in the judiciary and defense bar, as well as the prosecutors from my office who made this a tremendous learning experience for these students,” Katz said. “Our legal system depends on cultivating new professionals with the high level of dedication, preparation and performance they all demonstrated.”