[Mock] Trials & [Real] Tribulations

The Mock Trial Team @ Regionals

The Mock Trial Team @ Regionals (not pictured: Jen Henricks, who was sick)

This past weekend BC Law hosted the Regional Mock Trial Competition in downtown Boston — specifically at the Suffolk Superior Court and at Suffolk Law School.  The competition lasted from Thursday – Sunday, and featured trials everyday.  BC Law took two teams, and I was on one of them.  The experience was nothing short of grueling and fantastic — it’s amazing to stand up in a courtroom like a trial attorney and match wits with law students from other schools.  At the same time, it’s incredibly nerve-racking to go against people who typically have extensive experience with mock trial (high school, college, etc.), and to really focus on all the dynamic changes that go on during a trial.

A Model of the Trial

A model of what the trial is about! (Yes, it happened in a trailer park)

The trial was basically about a domestic violence case between a guy and his girlfriend.  She claims he assaulted her after a dispute over hanging up his precious portrait of Elvis Presley on velvet.  He claims she got mad that he was hanging up the velvet Elvis, and basically had the police come and arrest him because he kept hanging it up.  A velvet Elvis.  Yup.  So, needless to say one of the hardest parts of mock trial is living and breathing the case.  We had less than 2 months to prepare, and the coaches were *really* great at using our long days and late nights to make sure that we understood that this is a REAL case and we had to (1) picture every scene and (2) be able to describe (or get the witnesses to describe) the scenes.

One of our practice sessions @ BC Law

One of our practice sessions @ BC Law

It’s something I hadn’t really thought about doing well before — being a really good storyteller as well as a legal advocate.  Throughout law school there have been a lot of good and bad things I was doing as a storyteller that I never really paid any mind to.  The mock trial experience allowed me to really pay attention to what I’m doing when I try to relay any information to anyone else — which is at the heart of the oral advocacy part of lawyering.  And this skill really cuts across any discipline: you can’t really be successful without understanding the hows and whys of good communication.

Mock trial was difficult, but exhilarating and well-worth all the time!  It also helped to have a stellar team to work with, and so many excellent people in the community (students, lawyers, judges, etc.) who gave their time and energy to help make this fictional trial feel like the real thing!!

Note: In addition to the external mock trial competition, BC Law has a number of external moot court competitions that offer the same kind of unique experiential learning opportunities.  The regional competitions are going on now, so good luck to everyone involved in those!!

I’m a 3L at BC Law and I’m working at an externship in downtown Boston this semester through the school’s Semester in Practice: Public Interest program.  I’ll be blogging about externship opportunities and life in the BC Law community.  Feel free to reach out to me with any questions or comments here or at makawa@bc.edu.

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