Portola Pilot

From the Classroom to the Courtroom: A Spotlight on Mock Trial

Sophomore+and+pre-trial+attorney+Joanna+Fan+looks+over+Mock+Trial+case+law+in+order+to+compose+her+first+amendment+argument+for+the+2018-2019+case+on+criminal+threatening+and+swatting.
Sophomore and pre-trial attorney Joanna Fan looks over Mock Trial case law in order to compose her first amendment argument for the 2018-2019 case on criminal threatening and swatting.

Sophomore and pre-trial attorney Joanna Fan looks over Mock Trial case law in order to compose her first amendment argument for the 2018-2019 case on criminal threatening and swatting.

Tiffany Wu

Tiffany Wu

Sophomore and pre-trial attorney Joanna Fan looks over Mock Trial case law in order to compose her first amendment argument for the 2018-2019 case on criminal threatening and swatting.

Tiffany Wu and Dylan Vanek

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In the Santa Ana Courthouse, Mock Trial makes its way up the ivory white staircase, ready to don heavily-rehearsed character forms and play a part in pre-determined cases set by the Constitutional Rights Foundation of Orange County regarding a variety of issues, including human/drug trafficking and manslaughter.

Mock Trial recreates cases regarding crimes, with each member acting out a specific role, such as attorney, witness and bailiff. With months of individual preparation and group rehearsals, the final simulation is taken to a competition in an actual courthouse.

As one of the most established clubs on campus, Mock Trial serves as an important example for newer and upcoming clubs. Club gatherings extend beyond the average lunchtime meeting to a regularly occurring Thursday practice from 6:30-8:30 p.m. The club’s high participation rate and the members’ unrelenting support produces an output that truly embodies the school’s spirit and drive for success.

“We’ve done four-hour practices where we just sit and eat, and then discuss the case. We always have two-hour practices every week, and although the times get tough, it’s always a team, and it’s always a family,” junior and vice president Nishad Francis said. “We’re a group of probably the 25 closest people that you’ll ever get to know, and we’re always striving to improve, and the only way to do that is together.”

With strong teamwork and cooperation, an equally strong leadership is necessary to carry out organizational and communicative needs in order to ensure improvements to achieve the goals that were set in Mock Trial’s vision.

“It takes genuine passion to run Mock Trial. It takes commitment and dedication to never give up, even after consecutive losses against senior teams. It takes a group of amazing teachers, attorney coaches and team members who are willing to dedicate hours of their time every week to run mock trial,” junior and president Dheitshaa Bala said. “And most importantly, I think it takes cooperation to have a good mock trial team because after all, we are a team.”

According to the leadership team, the club’s dream is to reach the level to compete at the nationals, a competition in which the top two teams in the nation compete against each other in a head-to-head format for the national title. With two wins at the county level from the previous year, this dream is already well on its way.

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From the Classroom to the Courtroom: A Spotlight on Mock Trial