Georgia Tech's Mock Trial Team: One of the Nation’s Best

Posted November 26, 2018

The Georgia Institute of Technology’s mock trial team — housed in the Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts — ranks among the nation’s best.

The team has appeared in the semifinal round of the national tournament two of the last three years, narrowly missing a trip to the 2017 championship round that was eventually won by Yale University.

That resurgence, after a decade away from the top spots in the mock trial world, helps explain why a record 32 new students tried out for the team in 2018 — despite the fact that Georgia Tech does not offer a law degree or provide scholarships for mock trial students.

“We have kids who may be deciding between enrolling at Tech and Georgia or Tech and another school, and they are choosing us because of how good our team is and has been,” said Will Warihay, an attorney, lecturer in the School of Public Policy, who is the president of the American Mock Trial Association, and one of the Georgia Tech team's two coaches.

Much of that success is due to the caliber of students who come to Georgia Tech. It is also due to a strong tradition of interdisciplinary education for which the Ivan Allen College is renowned.

At Georgia Tech, mock trial teams include students in public policy, international affairs, modern languages and other Ivan Allen College degree programs, as well as students from Georgia Tech’s engineering and science programs. That intellectual diversity has given Georgia Tech’s program an edge in tackling complex issues that have sometimes stymied teams with more traditional pre-law background.

“Fundamentally, a mock trial case is a really big, 150-page problem that you have to try to solve, when it’s kind of designed that there is no perfect solution,” said Sarah Stebbins, a fifth-year Chinese and business student from Marietta. “And so I think having people with really diverse educational and other backgrounds helps us to create a more creative solution to that problem because we have people who approach it from a wide variety of different perspectives.”

To learn more about the team and why they are so successful, read the full feature, “Courtoom Stars,” on the Ivan Allen College website at

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Drawing on a strong tradition of interdisciplinary education and a student body who knows what it means to work hard, Georgia Tech's mock trial team — housed in the Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts — ranks among the nation’s best. Here, competitor Katie Burdette (CE, Cincinnati), foreground, responds to a judge's question during cross-examination of a witness during a trial round at the University of Georgia Mock Trial Tournament at the DeKalb County Courthouse in Decatur, Ga., on Oct. 20, 2018.

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Michael Pearson