By Erin Hacker
The CSB/SJU Pre-Law Club is continously working to prepare themselves for law school. One of the best ways to do this is to compete in mock trials.
Mock trial is a team competition where members are chosen to portray attorneys, witnesses and other roles that are present in a courtroom situation. The teams are tasked with arguing a court case, simulating the prosecution and simulating the defense. Two judges decide which team argued their side better and a winner of that round is chosen. The teams then flip sides and have the opportunity to argue on the other side.
Practice and repetition of legal terminology and courtroom scenarios allow members the opportunity to be prepared for law school and beyond.
“Even in law school there are mock trial teams because it’s really important to learn how to argue in a courtroom setting and how to make legal arguments with the terminology that comes with that,” junior co-president Dominik Ruch said.
Preparation for mock trail competitions is crucial and extensive. Ruch said the team spends at least four to five hours a week practicing, outlining and going over every little detail of the case to come up with arguments they want to present to spin the case in their favor.
At each tournament the mock trial team attends, the case is the same. A civil or criminal case is chosen at the start of the year and is consistent throughout the season. This year, the criminal case chosen was the case of a wife being unfaithful to her husband and wanting to get out of her pre-nuptial agreement by having her new boyfriend try to murder her husband.
The only part that changes when they go to a tournament is that they do not know when they are going to be the prosecution or the defense.
“You always have to prepare both, and you will always be both at a tournament,” Ruch said. The mock trial team competed in a tournament Jan. 20-21 in the Twin Cities where they competed in two trials. In the first and third rounds they were the defense and in the second and fourth rounds they were the prosecution. The numerical results did not tip in their favor, but Ruch said the team was extremely proud of their performance and said they held their own against strong competitors.
The Pre-Law Club is completely student led for the first time in quite some time. In the past, the club had a local attorney mentor and coach them throughout their season. Due to unforeseen circumstances, there is no coach this year. This means a larger amount of work is being put on the board and the co-presidents.
“Nathan Williams and I took over that coaching role and had to teach, at the beginning of the year, almost 30 new people how to do mock trial,” Ruch said.
Ruch said that at first it was very difficult, but as a result of this experience, the entire team came together to support one another and learn from one another.