Sophie's experience as an Usher during a Mock Trial 

Sophie's experience as an Usher during a Mock Trial 

The opportunities to experience situations that are intentionally stimulated to reflect real-life legal dynamics are fundamental to establishing an understanding of the law beyond the lecture room. Therefore, having the opportunity to take on the role of an usher in the mock trial was a great way of having an intrinsic role in the court process, with being able to contribute to the functioning of the day whilst also being in a position where I could still take note of the admirable technique my lecturers took to acting in the roles of prosecution, defence and judge. 

Being an usher meant that essentially I had access to a behind the scenes glimpse of a day in the life of court, but in a relatively low-pressure environment so that I could enjoy it and take the most from the experience. I had a clipboard and gown, and truly felt that this allowed me full authority to step into my role and I genuinely felt confident doing so. The previous year, I volunteered as a member of the jury for a similar mock trial, and this year I was asked to return as an usher, having previously expressed my enthusiasm for doing so. I feel that this is a perfect representation of how I have grown as an individual and as a law student over this past year. If I was asked to be an usher at the start of my law degree I would have been held back by my lack of confidence, however, this year I did not hesitate to say yes. I saw it as a valuable experience to be in involved in a court process and to demonstrate to myself my growing strength in confidence and progress in skills I have been focusing on during my degree. 

Throughout the day, I enjoyed the interactions I got to have from all sides of the process. My role included greeting the witnesses who were Trading Standard Officers and being able to reassure them of the structure of the process. I also got to assist with the functioning of the court, in terms of being there to assist the judge in tasks that needed to be carried out. As part of my responsibility as the usher, I especially enjoyed being able to say, “court rise” and have everyone listen to me! I feel as though I had the honour of contributing to the trial but also enjoyed the moments where I got to sit back and watch the trial play out as well. It was here that I got to witness the techniques we learn throughout our studies being applied in a realistic interpretation of a day in court.  

Having had the experience of being a part of the trial in two different formats now, I believe both have had a positive impact on my outlook on life beyond my degree. This is because I strongly believe the value that these legal experiences outside the lectures have, is essential to being able to think more confidently about a career in law and applying the knowledge we have gained up until this point in our degrees.  

Overall, I firmly believe the mock trial this year has been a key aspect in highlighting to myself my enthusiasm in looking towards my future career in law and I have felt profoundly inspired by the role everyone played within the trial.