Each team consists of eight students. For any particular trial, three students of each portray lawyers and three students of the team act as witnesses. Each of the lawyers must perform a direct examination of one of that team's witnesses, a cross-examination of one of the opposing team's witnesses, and one of the three other attorney functions (pretrial conference, opening statement, or closing argument). Each team must be prepared to portray either party to the case, either plaintiff or defendant.

A high school teacher leads or sponsors each team. The teacher may sponsor multiple teams from the school. Some schools enroll teams as part of a regular class (typically government class or business law class). Some schools enroll teams as extracurricular activities.

Each team also generally has an attorney who helps coach and train the team for the competition. These lawyers devote many hours of time to assisting the particular team or teams, and receive no compensation or payment from anyone. This is one means in which lawyers provide service to the public and the legal system as part of their obligation as members of the bar in this state.