Six students from the University of New Mexico School of Law will be competing against 10 universities in a three-day national mock trial competition starting Thursday.

This year, UNM is hosting the National Trial Competition at the Second Judicial District Courthouse. UNM last hosted the competition in 2000 and 2008.

The competition, which began in 1975, is meant to strengthen students’ skills in public speaking, argument response and persuasion.



Trials begin at 9 a.m. and will offer students a glimpse inside the world of professional law.

If UNM law students perform well, they will join another regional team to participate in the April national finals held in Texas.

There are 13 regions of participating law schools in the country, and every region will send two champion teams.

UNM law students will be competing against students from Arizona State University, the University of Colorado, the University of Denver, the University of Oklahoma, Tulsa University, the University of Texas at Austin, Brigham Young University, the University of Montana, the University of Arizona and Oklahoma City University.

Brent Bailey, competition coordinator and former National Trial Competition competitor, said this event is the “granddaddy of them all” in terms of importance to law students.

“The students try their case about 30 times during the month that they have to prepare for the regional competition,” Bailey said.

Participants have been preparing for their mock trial case since winter break and typically spend five to seven hours a night, five days a week, working to prepare their case.

Heather Harrigan, assistant dean for Student and Career Services, said participants will be working the same trial for three days, but “each round is a complete trial.”

The law school is still searching for volunteers to participate in the mock trial as witnesses, who will take part in witness examinations. Those interested in volunteering can visit lawschool.unm.edu.

Anthony Jackson is a freelance reporter for the Daily Lobo. He can be contacted at news@dailylobo.com or on Twitter @TonyAnjackson.