Mock Trial has been in full swing since October 2022, when the cases were released by the Pennsylvania Bar Association. Practicing attorneys came to the school to help the team prepare for their tournament.
“Usually we do a boot camp where our lawyers come in, and we talk about everything from courtroom etiquette to the rules of evidence, objections, and the procedures within a courtroom,” faculty advisor Mr. Benjamin White said.
After learning about the trial process, the team received their first case in November.
“We get the case and we read through all the facts and jury instructions to get an idea of what we have to prove or disprove, then we read the affidavits, which are testimonies,” Mr. White said. “There are six witnesses: three for each side. We have to comb through those affidavits looking for things that either help or hurt our case on both sides, so we put those things into two buckets, things that help or hurt, and we use those facts to support our case theory: who’s guilty or at fault or not.”
“Case theory involves technical things like what laws apply, but also how to form your argument based on facts, so we look at old cases from past years, and we look at the beginning materials of the case which includes stipulations, the facts of the case, the summary, and the jury instructions which ask the jury to consider the counts against the defendant,” Mr. White said. “The cases are either criminal or civil, so they involve things from negligence, which is this year’s case, to things like murder.”
The team began to get a grasp on the jobs they each had to perform. They put this to the test during scrimmages with other schools in the area.
“In January we do some scrimmages,” Mr. White said. “This year, we scrimmaged EA and Penn Charter, so kids got a chance to truly try out their cases and get a taste for what other schools were bringing to the competition, and what ideas they had because you need to respond in a live situation to what other teams are saying and what their argument is.”
The Mock Trial team then headed to the University of Pennsylvania in West Philadelphia for the Ben Franklins.
Fourth Former Connor Hanney said, “Leading up to districts we had an invitational down at Penn that helped us prepare, do a dry run, see what we need to improve on, see what was good, and see what other teams were throwing at us and how we reacted.”
“We have actual cases that we’re going to argue in actual courts before actual judges.”Nicholas Lu ’25
At Penn, the team got their first taste of what an actual trial consisted of.
“It’s a great learning experience, and real lawyers get to come talk to you about what you’re learning, and we have actual cases that we’re going to argue in actual courts before actual judges, and people who are also lawyers,” Fourth Former Nicholas Lu said.
The team eyes on its next steps.
Mr. White said, “We’re in the district tournament which is the end game where we go up against schools in Montgomery County and try to get to the state tournament after that.”
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