Exploring Gender Bias in College Mock Trial

Eric Jeffrey Tucker


The role of gender has long been discussed in the legal profession. From the documented discrimination Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg faced as a female attorney to varying expectations regarding how male versus female attorneys should dress and conduct themselves, gender biases, norms, and expectations have impacted female litigants both in and outside of the courtroom. This thesis contributes to research on the nature of gender bias and how it manifests and perpetuates itself in modern society. Drawing on a series of semi-structured interviews with current mock trial competitors and coaches, this research focuses on the role of gender in the field of law by examining its presence and impact on future attorneys before they attend law school. Specifically, this research explores the perceived presence of patterned gender bias in undergraduate college mock trial. It finds that both mock trial coaches and competitors believe patterned gender bias does exist within both the college mock trial and conventional legal setting, but in college mock trial, coaches' and student leaders’ opinions on how to address this issue vary significantly.