Each year CWU fields between one and two teams, each comprised of six to ten students. Competitors on the team are disproportionately first-generation students (50%); disproportionately women (75%) and primarily from Washington (90%). Students of color make up approximately 30% of our team each year, and have included black students, Latino and Latina students, Asian-Americans and Arab students. Virtually all of our students come from families where no family member has gone onto legal or graduate educations. All of them who go on to law school are first generation lawyers.
The team primarily relies on club funding through CWU organizations. This funding is helpful but limited. Students are required to fund their own travel, food, and wardrobe expenses. For a modest annual budget of approximately $8,000, the team could fund improved accommodations for students, cover the costs of food expenses and wardrobe improvements. This would produce happier more driven competitors, which would yield better results and regional competitions, and create incentives for club participation that would help with competitor retention and development. More importantly, it would encourage students that they belong in the legal community and help overcome a sense of impostor syndrome that many first-generation students face.
Current Club President, Alyssa Powers, had this to say about her experience with CWU Mock Trial:
“Coming into college I knew I wanted to become an attorney, but I wasn’t sure what steps to take in order to do so as I would be the first lawyer in my family. Then, in my freshman year, I took a course with Professor Claridge, the advisor for Mock Trial Club, and as soon as he described the club’s nature, I knew I wanted to join. If it were not for COVID-19, I would have been heavily involved in Mock Trial all four years of my college career, but instead, I had to settle for three; these three years have been the best three years of my life. Not only does Mock Trial give you a taste of trial practice and an understanding of the federal rules of evidence, but you also get to meet a lot of new people that end up being some of your closest college friends. The club environment is never anything but positive and fun. It is because of Mock Trial that I feel ready and excited to take on law school as it has led me to friends with similar passions to mine.” - Alyssa Powers, '23
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