Brandeis University Mock Trial Association (BUMTA)—the official student-run mock trial organization of the university—hosted the 17th annual Justice Louis D. Brandeis Tournament from Nov. 12-13. The tournament featured 12 teams from 10 colleges and universities across the East Coast and one from Tennessee.
“This was our first time hosting an in-person tournament on the Brandeis campus since 2019. This posed a variety of challenges, as only the few people who have been in the club for four years, have BUMTA run an in-person tournament,” wrote Zachary Miller ’25 and Zachary Mayer ’25—tournament directors—to The Brandeis Hoot.
The tournament began on Saturday, Nov. 12 at 9 a.m. with the opening ceremonies. Following the opening ceremonies was the start of Round 1 with captains’ meetings at 10:30 a.m. in Golding 101. The first round of trials followed from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. There was a brief intermission before the tournament moved on to Round 2 which started at 3:30 p.m. with another captains’ meeting. The second round of the tournament ran from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. This marked the end of the first day of the tournament with teams returning the next day to continue with two more rounds.
On Sunday, Nov. 13, the first captains’ meeting of the day for Round 3 of the tournament began at 9:30 a.m. The trials were then held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Another short break was taken before resuming the tournament with the fourth and final round. The captain’s meeting for Round 4 started at 2:30 p.m., with the trial following from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.
“Overall, we think it was a successful tournament for everyone involved. We ended up with schools from all over the country, with schools coming from as far away as Pennsylvania and Tennessee, or as close as Wellesley,” wrote Miller and Mayer.
Groups were chosen for the event by Miller, the pair explained to The Hoot. Many universities apply for admission, but BUMTA has to limit the amount of schools admitted. “We were fortunate enough to have been in charge of the longest-running annual tournament in Massachusetts that weekend,” wrote Miller and Mayer.
“The process of determining which schools would attend required constantly ensuring that we had an even number of teams competing, and we began putting in requests for the rooms we wanted to use as courtrooms, the Judges’ Lobby, Captains’ Meetings Room, and the Tabulation Room around the same time,” wrote Miller and Mayer.
The tournament followed the protocol as laid out in the American Mock Trial Association (AMTA) rulebook. For each trial, each side had 25 minutes for Directs, 25 minutes for Crosses and 14 minutes total for their Opening and Closing Statements which could be divided as the team sees fit. All-Loss was set at three hours, also according to the AMTA protocol. Before each round began, the BUMTA broadcasted All-Loss times in each courtroom, as well as in the Captains’ GroupMe. Each team was allowed to determine how they would like to communicate the time remaining in the round itself.
Following the final trial, the BUMTA hosted a closing ceremony, to announce individual and team winners of the tournament. The universities in attendance were Alvernia University, Boston University, Colby College, College of the Holy Cross, Lasell University, Middle Tennessee State University, Northeastern University, Stonehill College and Wellesley College.
“Mock Trial is all inclusive! Everyone is welcome to join, including those who have never competed before or have no interest in becoming a lawyer. Spring semester is a little different, because teams are largely based on fall semester performance, but that does not mean you cannot join,” wrote Miller and Mayer.
Looking ahead, BUMTA has more events planned for the spring semester. “The club is looking to put on a variety of events in the spring, ranging from public speaking workshops to ‘mock mocks’. All are welcome to attend, even if they have no interest in joining the actual club,” Miller and Mayer wrote.
BUMTA was founded in 2001, with the Justice Louis D. Brandeis Tournament beginning in 2004. The tournament was not held in 2020 due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Editor’s Note: Managing Editor Mia Plante was not involved in the writing or editing of this article.