There is a plethora of activities at La Canada High School, but only a few offer a truly insightful, hands-on experience of one of the most appealing majors–law.
The Mock Trial teams exceeded their expectations at the competition, despite there being only two experienced members. The competition took place on November 2nd for the prosecution and November 9th for the defense team. Both teams won their trials, surpassing their advisor Mr. V’s expectations – a victory in and of itself.
Mock trial is an afterschool activity that simulates a real experience in lower-court trials with each student having a job of either witness or attorney. The jobs are agreed upon while preparing for the topic. Topics are given months in advance, allowing each team to gather a wealth of evidence. Students are given a situation and one team argues the defense and another team is assigned the prosecution.
The activity intimidates newcomers due to the large time commitment, the public speaking requirement, and the pressure to do your part in a competitive, team-based activity. A lot of time goes into preparing the case. The teams meet frequently in order to prepare their case, triple-check evidence, and run through strategies, questions, and arguments.
Public speaking is also paramount to a successful mock trial team. A team can’t be successful without the ability to make arguments in front of a judge, proctor, teammates, and the opposing team.
“During the trial, I was quite shocked to be immediately confronted by the judge’s questioning. I had not even finished my first sentence when the judge interrupted me to inquire about how I defined a certain legal term,” Kyle Lee (11) stated. “For half an hour, I stood behind the podium and addressed the judge’s many questions regarding my argument for why a certain piece of evidence should not have been admitted in the court. Initially, I was flustered by the torrent of questioning, but as I grew more comfortable, both with the material and responding to the judge, I found myself readily excited about the experience.”
The defense team consisted of many talented students, all of whom played different roles that were key in the team’s success at the competition. Priscilla Kang (12), Diya Razdan (11), Sonia Vaze (11) were the attorneys; Kyle Lee was the pretrial attorney; and Winnie Jung (10), Aleksandra Dudek (11), Audrey Melillo (10), Nina Lidar (10) were the witnesses. Additionally, the prosecuting team consisted of Averi Suk (12), Sun Choi (11), Christian Chung (11) were the attorneys; Brooke Yasuda (11) was the pretrial attorney; Claire Fausett (10), Heather Hong (9), Natalie Shamalian (11) were the witnesses.
Despite the addition 15 new members on the mock trial team this year school, both teams showed their dominance at their respective competition dates. Both mock trial teams raised the bar for success, paving the way for success in the future as members garner more experience and continue competing.
Photo by Avery Suk