You may have heard about Mock Trial by word of mouth, through flyers, or in announcements around NHS and social media, but it is not always clear: what is Mock Trial? As an upperclassman member of the team, I’m writing today to explain this club, and why it is one of the most engaging and interesting extracurriculars offered at NHS. This club, often referred to as a “team”, is a group of people who gather twice to three times a week to prepare a case that is to be presented in front of a judge in a real court. Many schools in Massachusetts have such teams, allowing for a tournament of Mock Trial cases for the state. Each school receives the same case packet from the American Mock Trial Association, allowing for great competition and a wonderful experience.
Norwell’s Mock Trial team truly begins its practicing in late October or early November, once the case packet has arrived. In this packet are rules and roles, as each team is responsible for representing both sides of the case in court, including lawyers and witnesses. The side of the case (defense or prosecution) that each school represents depends on the particular match, in which both sides are randomly chosen. After much preparation, by both witnesses, who must memorize their affidavits and prepare for cross examination, and lawyers, who must write questions, learn objections, and prepare opening and closing statements, the teams go head-to-head in real courts in front of Mock Trial judges (who are usually lawyers familiar with the rules of the organization). At Norwell High School, the team is headed by coaches Mr. Goniatis and Mr. Pithie, and the captains for the 2018-2019 season were senior Emily Rockwell and junior Griffin Pithie.
This year, Norwell High School’s Mock Trial team had a successful season, participating in three different matches against other schools from the South Shore. While the first match, against Thayer Academy, did not turn out in NHS’ favor, the Clippers approached the next two matches in a more prepared fashion. The second match, which took place in the Hingham Court, was against Hull’s Mock Trial team. While they were tough competition, Norwell was able to win the judge’s ruling and come back home with a win under their belt. The next week, Norwell continued on the wave of achievement, winning their match in the Brockton Court against Rockland’s Mock Trial team. Although they will not be moving on to the next level of competition due to their loss with Thayer, the team is very proud of their achievements this season. Also, while Mock Trial practices and matches are over for the 2018-2019 school year, all members are very excited for next year’s competition, especially due to the large number of new members from this year that are now experienced and prepared for the coming year.
As always, the NHS Mock Trial team invites all interested students to ask a coach, a captain, or any member of the club any questions that may arise, and all prospective members are welcomed! It truly gives students a taste of what being a lawyer (or a judge) is like, and is a fun bonding experience for the whole team. If you, or someone that you may know, are interested in joining the club for the 2019-2020 season, meetings will be advertised at the beginning of next year, and we eagerly urge you to try it out!