James J. Hippard Novice Mock Trial

Learning Session – TBD
Registration Starts – TBD
Registration Ends – TBD
Competition – February 2-5

Learn More:
Access last year’s Learning Lunch slides Here.
View last year’s Learning Lunch recording Here.

The Advocates host two James J. Hippard Novice Mock Trial competitions during the academic year: the Hippard Open (in the Fall Semester) and the Hippard Novice (in the Spring Semester). 

A Hippard Mock Trial Competition Team is composed of two UHLC students who prepare and argue the case for both sides, including opening statements, direct and cross examinations, and closing arguments.  Each team must also recruit witnesses to provide the live testimony.  Competition rounds are judged by volunteers from the Houston legal community judge who frequently offer competitors feedback at the end of their rounds to help them improve their skills.  Teams are scored on their Motion In Limine, opening statements, direct & cross examinations, closing arguments, objections, courtroom presence, and demeanor.

Any UHLC student who has completed less than a year on any competition team, has not competed with the mock trial team, and has not taken Evidence or any Trial Advocacy is eligible to compete in Hippard Novice.

UHLC students can earn 1 hour of non-substantive competition credit by (1) making a good-faith effort in the Competition and (2) completing and timely submitting the writing assignment for the Competition that is described in the Competition Rules. 

Click here to complete a Competition Credit Petition.

The Competition Teams that advance to the Final Round will receive a cash prize.  The Best Speaker in the Final Round of each competition will also be recognized.

Tournament Format

The tournament will have a limited amount of teams consisting of 2 advocates and 2 volunteer witnesses. Advocates will host a Zoom session where each member of the team will zoom in to the round. A judge will Zoom in and judge the round. The round will still have pretrial motions, opening statements, direct examinations, cross-examinations, and closing statements just as established before. You will be required to dress professionally on camera. Competitors will check in 30 minutes before the round begins to make sure that the system is functioning correctly. 

The information session will go over a general overview of the rules of evidence, spotting objections, opening statements, direct/cross-examinations, closing statements, trial decorum, zoom decorum, and any other questions that competitors may have. The goal of the information session is to provide competitors with an understanding of advocacy in the trial setting.

Do you have questions or need more information? Email Katrina Schydlower, Director of the Hippard Novice Competition.