Mock Trial Prep
I can confidently say that Debate and Model UN has been the most omni-applicable course I have ever taken. Just when we thought we had learned everything there is to learn about argumentation and effective articulation, the program found another way to keep us on our toes: Mock Trial. Now, as our final project of the year, we are taking our skills and applying them in the courtroom. Jaylynn B, Allard ‘19 this year’s Debate Captain, said “I love mock trial because it allows me to move my skills one step further.”
Mock Trial refers to a simulation of a legal court trial, often by law students either in high school or higher education. It is a time for drama, power-suits, fiery speeches, brutal examinations, but most of all, gritty preparation. For the month leading up to June 8th, the day of our trial, the whole Debate/MUN program is working hard to compile caselines, establish witness characters, and prepare evidence.
The case this year is a second degree murder indictment. Each of us was given a package containing witness affidavits, some of which overlap and some of which contradict one another. It is the lawyer’s job to work with the witnesses to compile these statements into a logical caseline. As either a witness, a lawyer, or a clerk, everyone has a role. For the lawyers, the preparation mostly involves picking through the case with an eye for loopholes and a mind ready to fabricate plausible stories with emotional appeal. As for the witnesses, their job is to perfect the character. Whether that is a convicted murderer, a mourning girlfriend, or a poised doctor, they need to be able to respond calmly, or not, to questioning. Working with the lawyer, they craft the ideal way to captivate and convince the jury. The Clerk’s job is to prepare all the evidence and ensure the courtroom runs smoothly on the day. Each of us work as a gear in the machine. It is certainly not easy, but it has to be one of the most engaging and entertaining things I’ve ever done.
Amelia H, Allard, ‘20