Imagine you are in a courtroom. Your palms are sweating, your heart is racing, all eyes are on you. How do you defend this person? How do you explain their actions? What questions do you ask witnesses? Members of the mock trial club at North Springs face this situation every year thanks to the Georgia Bar Association, and this year will be no different.
The mock trial team does exactly what its name suggests; participants take place in realistic courtroom situations. Each year, the Georgia Bar Association gives the team a case that they work on all year in order to compete against other high schools all over Georgia. The mock trial club then sets up a team, which consists of both attorneys and witnesses, and practice outside of school for many months.
This year’s case is centered around a former Lieutenant for the fictional Miltonville Police Department. This Lieutenant, Toni/Tony Jessep, is now the head of security at the town mall and reportedly tased a citizen of the town who refused to give up his/her parking spot, which had been reserved for a shop in the mall. The citizen, Jean Stuart, is taking action to sue the mall management company their hiring and retention of Lt. Jessep.
Practices consist of learning through attorney coaches, who are real attorneys that are usually parents of students in the club. “As far as training and teaching students how to appreciate and present their case, its the attorney coaches who make the mock trial team.” says club sponsor Cathryn Beveridge. The attorney coaches are vital to the team because they provide guidance for the mock trial members.
Mock trial is very rewarding for students who wish to go into a profession in law, as well as those gifted in acting and drama. “We learn the rules and procedures of the court, and many these are the same rules that are in place if you were to actually go into a courtroom.” says Beveridge. Though it is only her second year of supervising mock trial at North Springs, her experience as a paralegal makes her a valuable asset to the team.