As Highland’s Mock Trial team inches towards its first competition, many of the members are taking it upon themselves to go the extra mile in terms of preparation this season. This year many of the team’s lawyers solidified their skills through the Championship Mock Trial Academy, an event that occurred on October 18-19.
Mock Trial competitions are imitation trials where schools compete annually in real court houses with fictionalized cases to practice trial advocacy, which is the branch of knowledge concerned with training capable lawyers. Last year’s Highland’s team struggled in competition, but this year they intend to flip the script.
Jacob de Paz, Highland’s prosecution witness, did not attend but knew well of the program.
“CMTA is a mock trial convention where teams all around the county meet with professionals to apply new techniques for the kids to use in competition.”
This weekend course in trial advocacy took place in Santa Barbara, CA, where award winning instructors coached many competitive schools with a comprehensive curriculum dealing with rebuttal, intelligent witness reports, cross-examinations, closing arguments, and objections among other things.
Jacob Reed was honored this year at the Academy, for he was the recipient of the Speaker of the Year Award, an honor bestowed upon to the person who represented their school the best in a public address and voted upon by practicing lawyers. When asked about the award, Jacob was ecstatic.
“I was nominated by our team to go speak in front of the students and instructors, and I happened to be the best. We had a speech to memorize a month in advance, and that week we learned speaking techniques to help us carry out that speech.”
A prosecution witness, Reed is the “offense” for the Mock Trial team, used to argue against the team’s defense and convict their witness. Any added weapons to his arsenal were welcome.
“We learned a lot about questioning witnesses in a courtroom setting, along with proper pose and speaking”
If you’re interested in joining Highland’s Mock Trial team, you must sign up for the Speech class, formerly a zero period, which now takes place after school from 5-7 Mondays-Thursdays; they also hold Saturday morning practices from 10am-1pm. The Mock Trial team’s first competition will be on November 3rd, 2014, and the CMTA attendees, including Jacob, hope to enjoy the fruits of their labor by winning their competition. The upcoming competition will be covered as well.
By Makeen Yasar