Mock Trial Kicks Off Their Season Virtually


The Verge

In a virtual world, here is an example of what Mock Trial online would look like.

McKenzie Mollica, Editor

Mock Trial is one of the many clubs offered at Oakdale High School. Every year students join the club, and try out in order to be able to hold a spot on the team.  This year, 30 people showed interest in the club, 14 people tried out, and only 8-12 will actually be able to hold a spot on the roster for competitions.  Tryouts were held November 14th, using the breakout rooms feature that Google Meet has.


“This will be my third year advising the club,”  began Ms.Heather Corridon. “This is the first year we’ve had so many new members. The past two years that I have been involved, we have had a healthy contingent of returning members. This season we have three.” she finished. 


For many students, this will be their first year participating in Mock Trial.  After talking with some new students and very few returning, they all agreed that being virtual should not really impact the logistics of the trial. Many of the students actually believe it will open up more opportunities for the team.  


Returning mock trial member Gabriel Rosella had an interesting perspective of the whole situation: “Last year we had a team of mostly seniors as lawyers, but since they aged out, we’ve entered this year a sort of rebuilding phase as most people on the team now are new.  It’s something I think we’re all looking forward to.”


Mock Trial is a community that has no choice but to work together.  The attorneys have to be able to work with the witnesses in order to form good questions, strong arguments, and ultimately be ready to win the competition.  The bond between a witness and an attorney is very strong, which is part of what makes the team strong when they actually go to trial, and is key to winning.


Every member has a different role on the team, and the students get to choose what role they want to pursue.  For tryouts, you could prepare to be a witness or an attorney for any of the witnesses in the case book.  Sometimes, if the team needs someone to be a witness, but you tried out for a lawyer, you might be offered the witness part if you’re seen fit for it. 


“I’m trying out as a witness, but I haven’t decided which one yet! Since it’s my first year, I would rather be a witness than an attorney.  Next year after I’ve already done a season and understand how mock trial functions, I might want to be a lawyer.” explained new Mock Trial member, Colin Brown.  


In addition to preparing for the role they want to try out for, members also have to consider if they’re ready for participating in the long run.  With the competitions being virtual, many feel as though the participation level would remain the same, or increase. However, lack of a strong internet connection, and a proper computer set up can make participating difficult for some.  


When it came to thinking of the pros and cons of being virtual, all members found more pros than they did cons.  Many were excited for the fact that being virtual would open more opportunities and allow for more distant competition and greater flexibility.  The only troubles, however, become the aspects of a real trial in a real court room.


“A pro of having Mock Trial online is increased flexibility for members.  Also, competitions online means no one has to travel, so I think we’re going to compete with schools we might not consider because of distance.  A con of having it virtually is lacking the face-to-face interaction that I would guess makes mock trial feel much more realistic.  Emotion and body language would probably be a lot easier to convey in person then they are on a screen.” mentioned first year member Brown.


“We have a full slate of talented and effective members, so I am confident it will be a good season. I’m hoping this year we will win the county championship! We’ve been the bridesmaid twice, it’s time to take this thing!” Ms.Corridon remarked.  She  believes that the returning embers are very strong, and she is ready to have a great season!


The OHS Mock Trial team is ready to start getting back into things they enjoy, and keep a tradition going.  The team has until January to prepare.  Their first competition is sometime in early January.  Teams will then continue to compete once a week through the end of February, with the quarter finals, semi finals, and finals occurring in March.