Meet UNO’s award-winning Mock Trial Team


Megan Wade

College is a time to explore career opportunities and join clubs that will improve your chances of being employed after graduation. The UNO mock trial team is giving students just that opportunity for those pursuing a degree in law.

“I’m pre-law and plan on being in a courtroom one day, so I wanted to begin learning during undergrad instead of waiting until law school,” co-captain Mallory Sleight said.

Sleight has participated in mock trial since the program was brought back three years ago.

“I love developing a trial strategy for each of the cases, but I really live for competing,” Slight said.

The mock trial team has had great success this season. They have competed in two invitational meets, returning from both with first place wins.

“They were created to help students acquire a working knowledge of our judicial system, develop analytical abilities and communication skills, and gain an understanding of their obligations and responsibilities as participating members of our society,” the constitutional rights foundation website stated.

The team has competed against more than 20 universities, and three top 40 teams.

“The level of competition has grown substantially over the past couple of years, which I am a fan of,” co-captain Marcus Rechtenbach said. “We compete against some of the best schools in the nation, and we win.”

The team competed in Creighton University’s Blue Jay open, coming away with a 7-1 victory, and two members winning individual awards. Joe Loukota and Sleight won Outstanding Participant awards from a filed of nearly 200 competitors.

“If many lawyers think of mock trials as an ex-pensive waste of time—and many do—the main reason is that they are trying to use them for the wrong task, like using a camera to pound a nail,” Jury Law website stated.

You can find the team practicing with new head coach Shannon O’Connor three days a week, preparing their cases for future competition.

“The mock trial team is very similar to the athletic teams,” O’Connor said. “It takes talent, a strong work ethic and a motivation to win.”

The team’s last tournament will take place in January at the University of Missouri.

“We are definitely looking forward to our next tournament in January,” coach O’Connor said. “This will be our toughest competition thus far. The field is full of outstanding and nationally ranked teams.”

After that, the team will move on to regionals. Rechtenbach said that the team is looking for-ward to improving at the next tournament and continuing the success they have had in the past.

The mock trial team has set a high goal to finish off their successful season.

“We feel we have the talent and the dedication needed to make it to nationals,” Rechtenbach said. “We are ready to take that step, and we are really hoping to make it that far this year. All of our hard work has that focus in mind and it has kept us motivated.”