Furman University boasts an award-winning and nationally-ranked mock trial program. Furman fields 4-5 teams each year to compete in prestigous tournaments around the country.
Students interested in polishing their critical and analytical faculties, improving their public speaking skills, and advancing their understanding of trial advocacy techniques are well served by the mock trial program. The activity centers on the simulation of a criminal or civil trial in which students portray witness or attorney roles.
Participants prepare a prosecution/plaintiff as well as a defense case. A team consists of six to nine students, and Furman generally supports four or five teams. The Paladins compete in five to six tournaments, including the South Atlantic Tournament, which we host. Since joining the American Mock Trial Association in 1995, Furman has established a tradition of excellence that knows few peers. Among the 285 schools that fielded 583 mock trial teams during the 2007-2008 season, the Paladins were ranked 6th (Virginia is #1, and Harvard is #2). Furman regularly competes against teams from the nation’s best universities, including those in the Ivy League, Chicago, and Washington University, prestigious liberal arts colleges such as Rhodes, Macalester, and Davidson, and public Ivys (e.g, Miami of Ohio, Cal-Berkeley, UCLA). Furman has fielded a team at each national championship tournament since 1997, and it has placed at least one team among the top ten in its division each year since 1998. Leigh Booth Paoletti ’96, Allie Bullard ’04, D. Brad Rustin ’03, Steven Buckingham ’03, David Koysza ’01, R. Doug Webb ’02, and Libby Weith ‘06 coach the teams. The program is coordinated by Professor Glen Halva-Neubauer.