Mock Trial Employment Law

Mock trial is an excellent resource for students who are pre-law or who want to further develop their leadership and public speaking abilities. Many students who join mock trial and are active within the organization don’t go on to practice law. That is because mock trial prepares students in rhetoric and persuasion through a legal forum; providing a rigid structure and set of rules in which students are allowed to argue cases. The mock trial structure allows students to develop critical thinking skills across a broad range of subjects and requires them to be able to analyze critical information and translate that into a suitable argument for the courtroom.

One type of case that students in Mock trial might come across are civil actions or proceedings in the form of employment law. Employment law generally refers to laws and regulations set up between employers and employees. In the United States, the general rule for all employment is what is known as “Employment at Will”, which basically states that employees are hired on an “at will” basis and can be terminated, leave employment or discontinue working for any reason or no reason at any time with or without any type of notice. The exceptions to this rule come in when there is an agreement, usually in writing, stating exceptions to this rule. It is important to note, that even an employee handbook with stated rules can be an exception to this rule. In addition, most states recognize public policy exceptions and employers that terminate employment based on prohibited discriminatory reasons can create liability.

Other laws and regulations within the United States also provide certain benefits to employees. While medical insurance, vacation time, severance pay and retirement pay or pensions are popular with many companies, they are in no way required benefits that employers must provide. Rather, federal Fair Labor Standards Act mandates general outlines for how an employer/employee relationship may exist. Employees and employers can’t simply agree to work for a stated amount over a period of time, the law may still mandate certain payments of overtime and other restrictions and employers found violating employment laws are subject to significant penalties.

As you can see, Employment Law can be a bit of a tricky subject. If your team has a mock trial case dealing with the wrongful termination of an employee in San Francisco, the details of the case, the laws and regulations within the state of California and local districts of San Francisco and the previously defined relationship between employee and employer are all details that need to be taken carefully into account. Successfully arguing a mock trial case requires proper analysis of all aspects of the case and a well-developed argument that clearly defines your position within the definitions of the law.

Last call!

If you are still interested in joining the Michigan Mock Trial team you must email mtcaptians15@umich.edu by midnight tonight! The captains will be closing tryouts after that time and you will have to wait until next year.

We look forward to seeing you at tryouts!

Miss the mass meetings?

Rushing a fraternity or sorority?  Out of town this weekend?  Completely forget?  Have no fear, you can still audition for the Michigan Mock Trial team!

If you were unable to attend the mass meetings and sign up for a tryout, you can still do so.  Please contact the captains at mtcaptains15@umich.edu.  Tryouts are September 15-19 from 5 – 10 p.m.  The captains will be able to tell you what availabilities there are and find a time that works for you.

We hope to see you at tryouts!

Join Michigan Mock Trial

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Michigan Mock Trial is looking for some new members for its 2014 – 2015 season!  This is a great opportunity to meet new people, develop valuable public speaking skills, and learn about the justice system.  Whether you are new to mock trial or an old pro, we would love to have you on the team!

Places to meet us:

Gayz Craze

Monday, September 1st, from 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Come find our booth on Palmer Field for this great event!  U of M is a welcoming campus filled with clubs and organizations. There will be members of MMT ready to meet you and answer any questions you may have about joining mock trial.  Stop by anytime throughout the event!

Festifall

Tuesday, September 9th, from 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Held on ‘the Diag’ during the day, Festifall is a great sampling of U of M’s student organizations.  Make sure you find our booth among the many at outside at Festifall! We will be handing out fliers, answering any questions, and talking to people about the team.  Please come and sign up for an email list or just have a chat.

Where to get more information:

Mass Meetings

Friday, September 12th, from 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. in the Great Lakes Room at Palmer Commons 
OR
Sunday, September 14th, from 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. in the Forum Hall at Palmer Commons

At the Mass Meetings, you will learn what Michigan Mock Trial is all about: how often we practice, how often we compete, and all the other fun stuff we do. You will be able to meet and talk to the entire team. We will explain how to tryout and pass around a sign up sheet for tryouts. You only need to go to ONE mass meeting (out of the two).

Tryouts:

September 15th – 19th in the board rooms at Palmer Commons

Sign up for one fifteen minute tryout slot (during which you will perform both one attorney and one witness part) at one of the mass meetings. This tryout is the one and only chance for you to make the Michigan mock trial team for the 2014-2015 season!

What do tryouts entail?

We are looking for people who can creatively analyze a case and can present their interpretation persuasively. The materials you will use are actual excerpts from this year’s case. Just after the last mass meeting, we will release the tryout materials. These materials will include: background information on the case, applicable law, several witness statements, and a few proposed exhibits. Since our team values those who can play witnesses just as much as those who can play attorneys, we are asking everyone to tryout as both an attorney and as a witness. In order to tryout, you will have to:

1) Speech: Prepare a short 2 – 3 minute opening speech for the plaintiff. Pretend this is the first thing the jury will hear–tell them a convincing story to win them over to your side and support your story with evidence from the witness statements. You will have to deliver this speech without notes.  After your opening, we will ask you a few questions about your analysis of the case.

2) Witness: Select one of the three plaintiff witness affidavits and know their story.  Get your acting skills ready and be prepared to answer a few questions as that witness.  Some of these questions will require you to get creative, so come with a backstory and a character.  Be entertaining, engaging, and most of all, believable!

3) Attorney: Prepare a short set of yes or no questions (no more than 2 minutes) to ask the witness you selected in (2).  For this portion of the tryout, we will become the witness, and you will take on the role of the DEFENSE attorney (yes, a complete 180 on perspective!).  Use your questions to get out a few facts that will support the defense and/or hurt the plaintiff case.

4) Questions: Finally, we want to get to know who you are.  Just come ready to answer a few questions about yourself, among them:  Why are you interested in mock trial?  Can you tell us about a time you’ve shown commitment to an organization or a cause?  What kind of a community are you looking for in MMT?

Check out the “Join” tab for some FAQ’s or email mtcaptains15@umich.edu if you have any other questions, and we’ll be more than happy to help you out.

When I Met You in the Summer

For most, summer is a time for rest and relaxation under the sun, but for many members of the Michigan Mock Trial Team it’s a time for travel, internships, and full-time employment.  Here are some of the incredible things our team has been up to this summer!

In true mocker fashion, Senior Joe Moeller has been working at a market research firm, as well as working in the University of Michigan Law Library and studying to take the LSAT.  Many of those who compete on MMT take the LSAT and go on to some of the nation’s most prestigious law schools.  The team wishes JoeMoe great success in his future law endeavors!  Sophomores Olivia Dworkin and Daniel Gordon can’t seem to get enough of the courtroom during the academic year.  Olivia is an intern at the 47th District Court and Daniel is an intern in the litigation department of a local law firm in his hometown, Atlanta, Georgia.

While many of our teammates spend their summers continuing down the legal path, many others explore other realms, such as junior and Captain, Zy Li, who is researching Alzheimer’s Disease at Harvard Medical School.  Junior Adam Karabatakis is interning at the Consumer Payment Research Center at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.  Additionally, Sophomore David Schafer is an International Teaching Fellow in Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina.  While Zy, Adam, and David all rock it in a court of law, their experiences outside of mock trial bring new perspectives and ideas.

Unsurprisingly, many members of our team are also extremely interested in politics, though they are not limited to American politics.  Junior Evan Gerstein was an intern this summer for a Member of Parliament in the Canadian House of Commons.  Sophomore Laura Brodkin is an intern in the United States Senate working on the Senate floor and Sophomore Jane Fisher is a Field Organizer for a congressional candidate in Michigan’s 60th.

It’s not all work and no play for MMT.  Junior Shannon King travelled to Kyoto, Japan with her art history class, while Sophomore Danielle Rabie is traveling in the Middle East.  Spending his time running water sports, plays, and arts and crafts, Sophomore Josh Stillman is a camp counselor for the summer working on his tan!

While we can’t wait to welcome back the members of Michigan Mock Trial in the fall, it’s great to see that they are all keeping busy during the long summer months.  We wish them all the best on their many adventures!

HAPPY SUMMER FROM MMT! 

2013-2014 Awards Spotlight!

As a highly competitive program, many of our members experience personal successes at mock trial tournaments. Check out some of our teammates that won individual awards this year!

Jared Frantz

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  • Attorney award at ORCS with 18 ranks on the prosecution.
  • Attorney award at Regionals with 18 ranks on the prosecution.
  • Attorney award at Thunderdome with perfect 20 ranks on the prosecution.

Chris Horne

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Witness award at YellowJacket with perfect 20 ranks on the prosecution for his portrayal of Charlie Kaminsky, the limo driver.

Jihad Komis

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  • Witness award at Thunderdome with 16 ranks on the defense for his portrayal of Billie Isaacs, the bartender.
  • Witness award at Downtown Invitational on the prosecution for his portrayal of Charlie Kaminsky, the limo driver.

Adam Stillman 

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  • Attorney award at the Big Red Invitational with 18 ranks on the prosecution.
  • Attorney award at WONK with 17 ranks on the prosecution.

Joe Moeller

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Witness award at WONK with 17 ranks on the prosecution for his portrayal of Charlie Kaminsky, the limo driver.

Adam Karabatakis 

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All-American witness at the National Tournament with 23 ranks on the prosecution for his portrayal of Rory Shelton, the RacheterWorld mascot.

Alex Bernard 

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Attorney award at YellowJacket with 19 ranks on the prosecution.

Zhangyuan Li

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Attorney award at the Big Red Invitational with 19 ranks on the defense.

Kaveri Sharma 

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Attorney award at Polar Bear Invitational with 18 ranks on the prosecution.

Shannon Riggins

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Attorney award at Regionals with 17 ranks on the prosecution.

Vamika Bajaj 

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Witness award at Regionals with perfect 20 ranks on the defense for her portrayal of Haley Floyd, the accountant.

Shannon King 

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Witness award at Thunderdome with 18 ranks on the prosecution for her portrayal of Francis Kimball, the detective.

Laura Brodkin 

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All-American attorney at the National Tournament with 24 ranks on the prosecution.

Jane Fisher

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Attorney award at Regionals with 18 ranks on the prosecution.

Michael McIntosh 

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A dual threat with both an attorney AND witness award  at Regionals with 17 ranks on the defense as an attorney and 17 ranks on the prosecution as a witness for his portrayal of Charlie Kaminsky, the limo driver.

Matt MacVicar

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Attorney award at Regionals with 17 ranks on the prosecution.

Shamaila Ashraf

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Witness award at YellowJacket with 17 ranks on the defense for her portrayal of Whit Bowman, the defendant.