“A Guide to Mock Trial and Why YOU Should Join”

A Guide to Mock Trial and Why YOU Should Join

Clare Acuti, Staff Writer

As high schoolers, there is always the idea of college and our futures looming over us. High school is the time for us to try new things, have new experiences, and go out of our comfort zones. At the beginning of this year, I was searching for ways to stay active in the school and challenge myself. One of my choices was to join the East Rockaway Mock Trial team. I was very nervous to join and participate in something new but I can assure you that it was a great decision. 

I went into this Mock Trial season knowing nothing about what happens, what I would have to do, and how we could win. What I can tell you is that after one trial, I felt comfortable and I knew what I was doing. Mock Trial is the “performance” of a real courtroom scenario. As a team you read over affidavits (witness accounts) and you are split up into positions. The two main positions that you can have are a lawyer or a witness (there are other positions like the time-keeper if you want to have less of a talking role). 

As a lawyer, you work with a witness to write a direct examination. The direct examination is the line of questioning that the lawyer will be asking the witness from their team. The lawyer and the witness write the questions and the answers that the witness will have to memorize. Normally, the team will go to a real courtroom and compete, but during the COVID-19 Pandemic, we compete in the school library virtually. The lawyers also have to create a cross-examination for the witnesses on the other team. For the case this year, there were three witnesses on each side so we had three different lawyers. It is also the job of a lawyer to object when necessary and to create opening and closing statements.

As a witness, you have to familiarize yourself with the affidavit of the witness you are impersonating. You must memorize the answers that you have made in the direct examination and you will be questioned by the other team. You are not allowed to respond to the questions with information not found in the affidavit. So if you have a good memory, being a witness might be a great job for you!

I joined the team and I volunteered to become a lawyer. I was very nervous at first because I was doing something totally new, and I didn’t know what to expect. After participating and succeeding in my first trial, I was excited to share my experience with all of you and recommend that you try it out. We are currently competing in a round robin sort of tournament so if you are interested in joining you can talk to Mr. Canale or Mr. Gibbons about joining next year. 

My philosophy is the more you put yourself in uncomfortable and new situations, the more confident and courageous you will become. Trying new things will make you comfortable with being uncomfortable and in the real world, that is a very admirable trait. Mock Trial has been a very great experience for me so far and I hope that some of you take the time to consider becoming a part of it. It is certainly unlike anything I have tried before and it doesn’t matter if you want to become a lawyer, doctor, or teacher, sometimes it’s fun to try new things. It is also a great place to meet new people and create new friendships. Overall, if you want to get involved, meet more people, or even respectfully fight with people, I recommend you give it a try!