Mock Trial Team picking up pace, preparing for season

EMMIE CATRAMBONE, Entertainment Editor

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Mock Trial Team is starting to intensify their season as the students practice and prepare for their upcoming competitions. The team is headed by Mr. Mike Auth and Mrs. Melissa Winter, and they are helped by real lawyers assigned to the school.

   Those on the Mock Trial Team believe it is a great club for those interested in legal practices since the students involved get first-hand experience working with real lawyers and judges in a real courtroom.

     “It is a competitive academic team that is trained in legal practices by actual lawyers that we bring in, and are given a fictitious case that they will try as the lawyers and witnesses, either prosecution or defense, in an actual courtroom in Bel Air with an actual judge,” Auth explains. “They will be scored by practicing lawyers while they present the case. It is role play because the students are judged as to how well they know their characters and the lawyers are judged on how well they question, object, follow court procedures, build argument, and so on.”

    The team usually goes to Bel Air to compete, though in the playoffs they travel as far as Towson. In their normal season, they compete only against teams in Harford County. However, as the season draws to an end during the playoff season, they compete against those all across the state.

    The team has their work cut out for them as they prepare for their upcoming season. They are usually given a packet explaining all the different aspects of the case they are portraying, which can be as long as 50 pages. “So, generally for the first part of the year before winter break we practice once a week, we get up to base on the case itself with the new casebook every year,” team member Ryan Blosser explains.  He adds that the team practices courtroom procedures, training new witnesses and attorneys. Blosser comments that “in the second half of the year after winter break that’s when we really pick up to two or three meetings a week. We work with real life attorneys and we go through the case trying to decide what facts we want to use and not use, trying to realize how we can utilize witnesses and go through the evidence to put our case together.”

    Mock Trial Team only has a couple of events a year, with the most important part of their season coming at the end of the school year. However, all of the work and preparation helps students to become more well-rounded and ready for jobs in the future.

    Auth believes students who have any interest in a legal career would find this experience fun and and it assists students in their ability “to speak publicly, to think logically as you create argument, so it really makes you think.”  He adds that reason and logic are usable in anything. “I think there’s a lot of poise involved, because you have to be in a courtroom, because you have to stand up in front of people, because there’s an actual judge you’re talking to and so on, so I think it really helps to build poise and confidence in students,” says Auth.