Jamie McInelly read the notes on her character lots of times. She rehearsed her lines when driving to school and clocked in countless hours of practicing her body movement in front of the mirror.
This might seem like the normal routine of a star, but McInelly is not a theatrical performer. She is a hopeful lawyer, and the function she is playing is that of a witness in a mock trial case. McInelly, a criminal justice major, is among 18 trainees who compose the UNLV Wrongdoer Justice Mock Trial Group.
” I always like the concept of law school but I didn’t recognize how much of a dream it was till I joined the group,” McInelly said.
The group is open to all undergraduate majors. To prepare the next generation of trial advocates, the group completes in regional and national competitions. Trainees invest the academic year taking classes in trial advocacy, and arguing in front of practicing attorneys and judges from Southern Nevada.
” I used to hate public speaking, however it’s now second nature to me so that’s a fear I conquered,” McInelly said.
Joel Lieberman, chairman of UNLV’s criminal justice department, stated competitors gives trainees the opportunity to fine-tune their crucial thinking and presentation abilities, while applying class understanding in an experiential learning setting.
” The mock trial team is a great method for building trainee self-confidence,” Lieberman stated.
The mock trial program is 3 years of ages, however its members and coaches are currently wanting to take UNLV’s team to the nationwide stage.
Judging from the team’s recent performance, it might be well on its way. In February, the members made it past regionals and advanced to the Opening Round Champion Series in Fresno, California.
” I wanted to cry,” McInelly said. “It was a proud moment to hear our name called, and to understand that we was among 8 teams to advance.”
The UNLV criminal justice department also co-hosted the regional 2017 Rebel-Trojan All-in Mock Trial Tournament this previous January with the University of Southern California at the William S. Boyd School of Law at UNLV.
This year’s competition required students to present a case on age discrimination. Competitions require trainees to function as attorneys for the prosecution and defense, and act as witnesses. Trainees should make opening and closing declarations, concern witnesses, and argue rules of evidence.
At the Rebel Trojan Tournament, Matthew Nardone, a UNLV criminal justice trainee who graduated last year, got an award for best lawyer. Katarina Roach, a UNLV criminal justice trainee who graduated this year, received an award for outstanding witness.
Getting Mentorship Before Making Profession Choices
Jason Mitchell, the team’s coach and faculty consultant, is constructing the mock trial group into a mentorship and networking platform for undergrads and high school students interested in pursuing careers in criminal justice or law.
“There’s a substantial disconnect between textbooks and exactly what goes on in the real world,” Mitchell said. Occasions like an upcoming scrimmage in between the team and UNLV law trainees, he stated, acts as a wake-up call.
Mitchell has 2 law degrees and worked at the United States federal public protector’s Las Vegas workplace. The team’s assistant coach, Robson Hauser, is a Las Vegas public protector. Local judges administer in team practice trials and in Mitchell’s classes which alternate between civil and criminal cases each academic year. Clark County Municipal Judge Martin D. Hastings is set up to preside in a mock trial for Mitchell’s class this fall and Clark County District Lawyer Steve Wolfson once served as a judge for a mock trial.
“I have an interest in trainees contending, however eventually, I have an interest in guaranteeing students are prepared to pick up a case file, walk into a court and attempt a case,” Mitchell stated. “The classes and group experience offer a hint of what’s to come and what’s waiting on trainees so they can make a notified decision if law school is for them,” Mitchell stated.
McInelly is prepared. A former psychology major, she was carefully picked by Mitchell to join the mock trial team, which cemented her goal pursue law. With her criminal justice degree in hand, she’ll go to law school in 2018.