Stetson Young Scholars Pre-Law Camps
Thinking about becoming a lawyer? No experience necessary!
- Prepare and deliver arguments with and against experienced trial attorneys and other students in front of actual trial judges in matches designed to develop your trial skills.
- Have dinner with attorneys, law school staff and law students making contacts to prepare for your future career.
- Learn the ins and outs of public speaking and logical evidence.
The Stetson Undergraduate Mock Trial Team has enjoyed much success in the last decade and has traveled all over the country competing and placing in various tournaments. The Mock Trial team has enjoyed the benefits of the Stetson College of Law School Trial Team, which has been and remains established as the leading trial team in the nation. The faculty advisor and mentor of the Stetson Undergraduate Mock Trial Team is excited to host these camps to encourage experienced high school mock "trial-ers" and first-timers alike to develop their trial, debate and speaking skills. Your level of participation will be optional but learning will be inevitable.
These camps are intensely academic. Students will be working with Dr. Smith from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. every day, with follow-up work in the evenings. Time will be structured up until a designated hour for lights-out, and students will be expected to remain on campus and follow a code of conduct while participating.
Trial Skills Camp
The trial skills camp is designed to teach students about the critical thinking and oral presentation skills necessary to become a good speaker in a trial setting. These skills assist you in your school’s debate team, S.G.A., our Mock trial Camp or your own school’s Mock Trial team. During this week we will familiarize you with many of the tools needed to enter the law profession. Students will be learning how to dissect an argument and the most common models used in the law to articulate an argument or demonstrate a point of fact or law. Students will become familiar with the Federal Evidence Code; they will apply that knowledge in practice as they mold their “everyday” argument into a legal one ready for the courtroom. Students will practice these skills every day of the camp. The setting for this learning will be rigorous yet informal and fun wherein students are required to root for one another. It will culminate in a capstone experience that is designed to evoke courage and a sense of accomplishment in the student. This is ideal for students who want more experience before jumping into structured pre-law environments. Course cap is 12 students.
Mock Trial Camp
The mock trial summer camp is designed to teach students about trials in the United States. It will be akin to last year’s camp but with an even more interesting arson (criminal) trial. Students will learn about criminal or civil procedure, depending on whether the focus is a criminal or civil trial. Students will learn about pre-trial discovery, pre-trial motions, and the effect of party pre-trial stipulations as well. Students will learn how to use the Federal Evidence Code and presentation skills to learn how to make a good opening statement. They will learn the art of direct and cross-examination (including entering evidence) and then finally how to create a strong closing argument that will give them the best chance of winning over the minds of their judge(s). They will learn all of these things primarily through their own experience (by doing them). Course cap for each session is 12 students.
Moot Court Camp
“We can appeal!” Moot Court participants argue a fictional appeal of a final trial court decision. After hearing a court decision on a case, they will interpret a factual packet ((with the facts, some of the relevant law, and the procedural posture of the case), review the provided law, prepare short written briefs, and prepare oral arguments challenging the court decision. Most scenarios will place the argument issues in an area of law that is unsettled and has been developing in recent times. Each team must be able to argue both sides of the appeal. Real trial and appellate attorneys will work with students to assist and final appeal will be made to a real judge in court. It is an intense week filled with hard but rewarding work designed to help students learn to be able to become construct cogent, well-documented arguments quickly, thereby building their confidence in the courtroom, the classroom and everyday life. Course cap is 12 students.
Classroom Requirements and Courtroom
- Pen and paper
- Courtroom attire for one day (suit)
- Laptop is optional
- Sheets (Twin XL) – You can bring a sleeping bag if you would like
- Toiletries (Soap, shampoo, toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant)
- Shower shoes (if you desire)
- Glasses/contacts, solutions, and a case for contacts
- Laundry soap (If you are going to be staying for an extended period of time, there are washers and dryers available free of cost. You must provide your own laundry soap).
- Linens are able to be rented at an additional cost.
About the Instructor
Sven Smith, JD, PhD, has been an attorney since 1999, working in the courtroom in commercial, criminal and administrative matters. He has tried over 30 cases and handled over a hundred motions in these respective courtrooms. Dr. Smith has been the faculty advisor for the award-winning Stetson Mock Trial undergraduate team for 8 years. He has been working at Stetson for over 15 years in various capacities and has taught 18 different courses in criminology, sociology of law, and law-related courses at Stetson University, University of Florida, and the University of Chicago. He has been published as a co-author over 15 times in criminology, sociology, psychology, and law journals/books and has a journal article regarding gun ownership, media and crime awaiting press. He has dedicated himself to the study of law (jurisprudence) and law-related science including working as a staffed researcher at the American Bar Foundation in Chicago, the think tank for the American Bar Association.
Overnight Camp Cost:
A $100 NON-REFUNDABLE registration fee is required at the time of registration. Payment is due in full 6 weeks prior to camp beginning. Failure to pay in full by the deadline will result in the cancellation of your registration.
Stetson community and Mock Trial alumni discount available.
Need-based scholarships are available. Please contact [email protected] to find out more.
Payments can be made online or over the phone. For more information, please contact Stetson Young Scholars at
386-822-7091 or [email protected]