Constitution of the Mock Trial Board

The George Washington University Law School

Washington, D.C.

 

Article I — Name

Section 1. The name of this organization shall be the Mock Trial Board for The George Washington University Law School (“the Law School”), hereinafter referred to as “the Mock Trial Board” or “the Board.”

Article II — Objectives

Section 1. To promote excellence in written and oral trial advocacy among the students of The George Washington University Law School.

Section 2. To enhance awareness of the need for stronger educational programs in the field of trial advocacy.

Section 3. To encourage students to pursue careers in fields emphasizing trial advocacy.

Article III — Membership

Section 1. The Mock Trial Board has been established to recognize those students exemplifying excellence in trial advocacy and to provide continued training and education of future trial attorneys.

Section 2. The Mock Trial Board shall consist of students who have been invited to join the Mock Trial Board by the Officers of the Mock Trial Board (“the Officers”) after participation in the fall or spring internal competitions, or qualifying participation in an external trial advocacy competition, and who remain in good standing throughout their membership terms. A percentage of the top ranking participants from each trial competition shall be offered membership on the Mock Trial Board. This percentage shall be set by the Officers. The President, Vice President of Internal Competitions, Spring Competitions Committee Chair(s), and Judges Chair(s) shall ensure that the competitions’ respective grading procedures are as fair and as consistent as are reasonably possible.

Section 3. Members of the Mock Trial Board will be eligible to hold any of the offices or committee chair positions of the Board and to vote on any matter to be decided by the Board as a whole.

Section 4. Members shall be deemed in good standing if they are in good academic standing with the Law School and abide by this Constitution, the Mock Trial Board’s Bylaws, and the rules for any internal or external trial advocacy competition, or other Mock Trial Board-related activity, in which they may be involved in any capacity.

Article IV — Officers

Section 1. The Mock Trial Board will be governed by the Officers of the Board. Organizational decisions shall be made by majority vote. Each Officer shall have one vote. The President shall cast an additional vote in case of a tie.

Section 2. The Officers of the Mock Trial Board shall be the President, Vice Presidents for Internal Competitions and External Competitions, Secretary, Treasurer, Spring Competitions Committee Chair(s), Judges Committee Chair(s), and any other Chairs appointed by the President and ratified by the Officers. Officers must be members in good standing with the Mock Trial Board.

Section 3. All Officers shall perform their duties in order to further the objectives of the Mock Trial Board. The duties of the respective officers shall be:

  1. President: To preside over all meetings of the Mock Trial Board, and all meetings of the Officers. To supervise the running of all trial competitions held under the auspices of the Mock Trial Board. To coordinate the interaction between the Officers and the other Board committees listed below. To represent the Mock Trial Board in any official capacity before the Law School administration and to perform all other duties incidental to the office.
  2. Vice President of Internal Competitions: To preside over meetings of the Mock Trial Board and meetings of the Officers in the President’s absence. To run the trial competition in the fall; to train the Spring Competition Committee Chair(s) to run the spring competition; and to be available to help with the Spring Competition, if needed. To perform other tasks that the President may assign and all other duties incident to the office.
  3. Vice President of External Competitions: To coordinate participation in all external competitions. To choose members for external competition teams for approval by the Officers. To collect information and advertise these external competitions to the Board, obtain coaches for the external teams or act as a coach, and assist the external teams in their overall performance. To perform other tasks that the President may assign and all other duties incident to the office.
  4. Secretary: To prepare minutes of all meetings of the Mock Trial Board and all meetings of the Officers. To handle all official correspondence of the Mock Trial Board. To take attendance at all Mock Trial Board meetings and events. To advertise all meetings of the Mock Trial Board. To maintain a roster of current Mock Trial Board members. To perform other tasks that the President may assign and all other duties incident to the office.
  5. Treasurer: To handle all finances of the Mock Trial Board. To payout the Mock Trial Board funds upon the authorization of the Officers and to track expenditures throughout the term. To prepare the yearly budget requests for the Mock Trial Board. To perform other tasks that the President may assign and all other duties incidental to the office.
  6. Judges Committee Chair: To find qualified practitioners to preside at each of the internal competitions. To chair the Judges Committee. To perform other tasks that the President may assign and all other duties incident to the office.
  7. Spring Competitions Committee Chair: To coordinate the Spring Competition. To find and assign coaches to competitors for the spring internal competition. To schedule coaching and other tip sessions. To assist in duties involving the competition as requested by the Vice President of Internal Competitions. To train under the Vice President of Internal Competitions in the fall semester so that the primary responsibility of a spring competition shall be assumed. To chair the Competitions Committee. To perform other tasks that the President may assign and all other duties incidental to the office.

Any and all descriptions of the duties inherent in any Officer’s position may be amended, as needed, and shall not be construed to limit any Officer’s responsibility to generally aid in any trial advocacy competition or other Board-related activity, as needed and assigned by the President or by majority vote of the Officers.

 

Section 4. The President, Vice Presidents of Internal and External Competitions, Secretary, and Treasurer shall be elected at a general membership meeting between March 1 and May 1 and shall take office immediately upon election. Their terms shall expire at the next yearly election.

  1. The positions of President and Vice Presidents of Internal and External Competitions shall be open to members of the board who will be either third- or fourth-year law students during the majority of their term.

Section 5. Reasonable notice of the elections shall be given at least one week in advance. Quorum for elections shall be thirty-three percent of members in good standing.

Section 6. The President, Vice Presidents of Internal and External Competitions, Secretary, and Treasurer shall be elected by a majority of those Mock Trial Board members present at the election. If requested by any member in good standing, voting shall be by secret ballot.

Section 7. Vacancies of an office, excluding the office of President, shall be filled by a member in good standing appointed by the President. In the case of a vacancy in the office of the President, the Vice President of Internal Competitions shall assume that office and appoint a successor to his or her prior office.

Section 8. Impeachment of an officer will require a two-thirds vote of all members in good standing at a single meeting, and will occur only after the officer has been given two weeks notice of such a meeting and of the charges against him or her, and an opportunity to answer any of the charges made against him or her.

Section 9. Each member of the Board, not on an Officer, may be called on to serve, and shall serve, on an as needed basis, on any one of the following three committees: Judges, Competition, or Programming. Each committee will have a chairperson, appointed by the President, and approved by a majority of the elected officers. The Judges and Competitions’ Committee Chairs shall coordinate their activities through the Vice President of Internal Competitions. The Programming Committee Chair shall coordinate their activities through the President.

Article V — External Competitions

Section 1. Members of the Mock Trial Board are eligible to represent the Law School at interscholastic (“external”) trial advocacy competitions.

Section 2. Selection to an external competition team is made by the Vice President of External Competitions with the approval of the President or Officers. Only Mock Trial Board members who exemplify excellence in trial advocacy will be asked to participate in external competitions. Every effort shall be made to select the best teams possible to represent the Mock Trial Board.

Section 3. In the event that the Mock Trial Board extends an invitation to a non-Board member to compete in an external trial advocacy competition funded by the Mock Trial Board, the Board may invite that student to join the Mock Trial Board if the Officers determine that the student’s performance warrants such an invitation.

Section 4. In the event that a non-Board member competes in an external trial advocacy competition not funded by the Mock Trial Board, the Board may invite the student to join the Mock Trial Board if the Officers determine that the student’s performance warrants such an invitation.

Article VI — Amendments

Amendment 1. Amendments. Amendments to this Constitution may be adopted upon a two-thirds vote of those Mock Trial Board members present at a meeting to address such amendments. Quorum for such a meeting is thirty-three percent of all Mock Trial Board members. Reasonable notice of the meeting and the proposed amendment shall be given to all Mock Trial Board members at least one week prior to such a meeting.

Amendment 2. Amendments to this Constitution may also be adopted upon the unanimous consent of the Officers.

Amendment 3. Amendments to the rules of any internal competition may be adopted upon a majority vote of the Officers.

Amendment 4. Member Responsibilities. In order to maintain membership in good standing, a member must:

  1. Attend all regularly scheduled membership meetings;
  2. Serve on at least one committee or perform any administrative duties related to Board-sponsored activities, as assigned; and,
  3. Perform the following duties, as assigned, at both the fall and spring internal competitions:
  4. Coach team(s) competing in the fall and spring internal competitions; and,
  5. Serve as a student judge, witness, or stand-in participant in the fall and spring internal competitions.
  6. Satisfy the upper-level trial advocacy participation requirement, if applicable, and in accordance with the Board’s Constitution and Bylaws.

Amendment 5. The Upper-Level Trial Advocacy Participation Requirement.  The upper-level participation requirement applies to Board members in the Class of 2018 and all subsequent Classes.  The upper-level trial advocacy participation requirement is satisfied if:

  1.  The member earns academic credit for participation in an upper-level internal trial advocacy competition sponsored by the Mock Trial Board; or
  2. The member earns academic credit for participation in an external trial advocacy competition approved by the Vice President of External Competitions; or
  3. The member earns academic credit for participation in the George Washington University Law School courses of “Trial Advocacy” or “College of Trial Advocacy”; or
  4. The member serves in either an appointed or elected position for the Board; or
  5. The member was invited to join the Board based on performance in an upper-level internal trial advocacy competition or an external trial advocacy competition, approved by the Vice President of External Competitions, in which case the Upper-Level Trial Advocacy Participation requirement is deemed satisfied; or
  6. The member participates in one of The Jacob Burns Community Legal Clinics.

Amendment 6. Failure to Comply With Membership Requirements.

  1. The Officers shall issue a warning to any Board member who fails to fulfill a membership responsibility. Two such unfulfilled obligations in any given scholastic year will result in expulsion of the offending Board member.
  2. The Officers may excuse a member from performing a membership responsibility if the Board member presents a satisfactory excuse to the President or member of the Officers administering the particular responsibility and that excuse is approved by the President or relevant Officer(s).
  3. Membership Responsibilities. Membership responsibilities include attendance at Board meetings; timely response to communications from the Board; and other administrative tasks as may be required to remain in good standing as a member.
  4. The President or Officers reserve the right to reject any Member’s request for excusal from any responsibility if such Member makes a habit of requesting excusal from responsibilities.

Amendment 7. Failure to Fulfill Obligations Related to a Fall or Spring Competition. Failure to coach an assigned team(s) or failure to serve as a student judge, witness or stand-in lawyer, or to aid in related administrative tasks, during a Fall or Spring internal trial advocacy competition shall result in expulsion of the offending Board member.

The Officers may excuse a member from any of these responsibilities if such member presents a satisfactory excuse in a timely manner prior to the competition and in accordance with any other rules established by the Officers. The Board shall not grant excusal from any of these responsibilities if a member waits until after the competition has ended to seek excusal from his/her responsibilities, unless the member demonstrates that his/her failure to fulfill obligations is due to extraordinary circumstances, deemed sufficient for excusal by the Officers.

If granted an excuse, a member may be required to perform alternative service in order to maintain the member’s good standing with the Board.

Amendment 8. Failure to Comply with the Upper-Level Trial Advocacy Participation Requirement. Failure to fulfill the upper-level participation requirement shall result in expulsion from the Board. Individual exception to the upper-level competition requirement policy may be granted only under exceptional circumstances and by the Officers by majority vote.

Amendment 9. Definition of a Mock Trial Board Member. A Mock Trial Board member is a candidate for a juris doctor degree, who has been invited by the Board to be a member and who at all times maintains good standing with the Mock Trial Board, as defined in this Constitution, the Board’s Bylaws, and as interpreted by the Officers.