Club Highlight: Mock Trial

Mock+Trial+

Ms. Gregory

Mock Trial

Emily Jedell

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be involved in a court trial? If so, Mock Trial is where you belong. Whether you want to develop critical thinking skills as an attorney, or even channel your acting skills by playing the role of a witness, there is something for everybody interested. Our current club members recently completed competitions for the 2021-2022 school year, so keep reading to learn about their process.  

 

What does a meeting look like? 

Once you complete your audition for either an attorney position or the role of a witness, you will be assigned your final job. If you are an attorney, you will be assigned to either the prosecution or defense and will work closely with the other attorney on your side. The witnesses will also work with the attorneys from their side to craft a direct examination to win over their case, but also with the other side’s in order to practice potential cross-examination questions that could be asked of them from the competing school on competition day. As the competition date is close in reach, the team will meet more frequently to perfect the case they’ll present. 

 

How do competitions work?

Competitions come in different waves. If the first scheduled competition is for our team’s defense side, then they will go up against the prosecution side from a competing school. Then, the next competition will be our team’s prosecution side competing against another school’s defense side from another competing school. However, the situation can be flipped; it all depends on how the competition is running. If our team wins both our defense and prosecution competitions, then they can move on to the next one. Unfortunately, this school year’s competition only led to one victory from our defense, but the hard work from every member never goes unnoticed. “I think the hardest part about this year’s case was the defense side. The prosecution had a myriad of evidence stacked against the defendant, Perry Jordan, yet the defense had the job to deem her innocence. On top of that, this case was about the dark web and using cryptocurrency. It was a tall task to try to become familiar with the online web and how cryptocurrency works in shielding one’s identity,” mentions one of this year’s defense attorneys, senior Jessica Weiss. On top of the pressure of thinking on your feet, there are real New Jersey attorneys who judge and eventually share their critiques, along with declaring the victorious team.

 

What makes Mock Trial so special?

Ms. Gregory, Mock Trial’s advisor, has played a large role in preparing students for the big day. The most rewarding thing about Mock Trial is seeing the progress my students make from the moment they get a case to the moment they compete in an actual trial,” she says, “students who have never done Mock Trial become professional attorneys and witnesses in a matter of months.” Students get a sense of teamwork and collective determination and perseverance by being active members of the club. Each member is just as important. Although it can be difficult to manage such a time demanding club on top of school and other obligations, it really does pay off!” says Weiss. Senior Kara Chin, who played one of this year’s witnesses, says, “My favorite part was the debrief session after each competition. Everyone would just start talking about our own performance, how everyone else did compared to us, and even just vent about all the things that didn’t go our way.” Together, members become bonded through the difficult challenges of tackling a case. If you have an interest in being a part of next school year’s competition, it is highly encouraged to attend the interest meeting next fall. Hope to see you there!

 

Sources:

Gregory, Hailee. E-mail interview with the author. 30 Jan. 2022.

Weiss, Jessica. E-mail interview with the author. 6 Feb. 2022.