Despite loss to Menlo, Mock Trial ends season with a positive outlook


Photo courtesy of Arin Gurung

The Mock Trial team gathers at the San Mateo County Courthouse in Redwood City for its official competitions.

Ana Lunaparra, Staff Reporter

The mock trial team ended its season in a competition against Menlo School on Thursday, Feb. 9, after three weeks of official county-wide competitions and months of intense preparation. 

This year’s competitions centered around a case of robbery and battery on a cruise ship. The victim, Billie Scher, accused defendant Jordan Franks of stealing their Shakespearean ring and assaulting them, resulting in their broken arm.  

“I think [the season] was a real game changer for a lot of the Mock Trial students,” advisor Jim Chin said. “Even though we didn’t score super great, after the first round a lot of the students were asking to meet to practice and do better. I was expecting students to kind of lose hope but they did the opposite and got more excited to practice, which is very cool. I think it reflects really well on them.”

Although this is Chin’s final year as an advisor for the team due to time commitment conflicts, he admires the amount of dedication and hard work students put into each competition. 

“I’m always looking for growth,” Chin said. “Our prosecution went against Menlo and traditionally they wind up winning the county competitions, so it’s generally a fight for second or third place in our competition bracket. I could tell a lot of them were nervous because they had heard good things about Menlo, but our students did very well. I think they held their own against a school that is traditionally dominant.”

Sophomore and prosecution attorney Lexie Levitt emphasized the importance of preparation and effective strategies to collaborate with her team. 

“It’s really important to create a story in a Mock Trial that makes sense and connects everything together,” Levitt said. “You work closely and then cross-examine your own team, practice all the objections, scrimmage a lot when you come up to competition and build on what you need to find the holes in your case.”

Unfortunately, some team members fell ill towards the end of the season. Some caught a sickness a few days before the final competition, and the student who plays the victim became sick on the day of the trial, forcing the team to find a last-minute replacement. 

“I’m still incredibly proud of the defense because everyone was super supportive of the student who got sick during the trial, but I think it also made it a rough note to end on,” Chin said.

Despite these issues, many team members agreed that their final competition was their best performance. 

“I felt like we were more prepared after the last three rounds and had more practice with objecting and responding,” sophomore Arin Gurung said, a first year prosecution attorney. “I think we did really well on our directs and competing against all of these like other well-known schools despite us not having as much experience.”

Levitt, along with her other teammates, looks forward to continuing to improve in future competitions.  

“I like how realistic and hands on it is, which is my favorite part,” Levitt said. “It’s like a real case. You go to a real courthouse and go through the systems that a typical lawyer would go through, and you constantly have to change.”