Week 8 2020

Mock Trial: What a Thrill

Mock Trial: What a Thrill

After weeks of anticipation, the mock trial has come and gone, and it was just as exciting as we were promised.

It all started with the prompt reveal last week, then the first step was to read and re-read all of the materials. I represented one of the defendants in the case, an airplane manufacturing company, and if there was one thing I was sure of it was my client didn’t do it!

The week before the trial was filled with practice every day, at work and at home. I think one of my favorite parts of all the prep was that almost every attorney in my office took the time to sit with me and practice. Even though it was a mock trial and I am summer associate, they all took it seriously and made me feel like my work was important. It was also extremely valuable as I have never run a full trial by myself so I definitely needed their expertise.

Defending my client

My first practice was with associates Robert Barton and Joleen East. We went over my questions for my witness directs. They were able to help me look at the directs as a big conversation, show my personality and really give my witnesses the time to win over the jury. They also helped me to tweak my questions by encouraging me to focus less on the specific questions to ask and more on the specific answers I want the jury to hear.

Next, I worked on my opening. I worked through my theme and hook and learned how to utilize the theme throughout the rest of my case.

Partner Mike Forte and associate Rebecca Arends helped me with my closing. They both were able to give me a lot of insight based on effective closings they have heard or done themselves. It was definitely helpful that my client in the mock trial is the type of client the firm would represent. They were able to give me a lot of advice based on real world trial experience.

I worked on my crosses examinations with associates Jennifer Soberal and Meredith Fee. I can see why attorneys often mention how fun crosses are. It is fun to be a little sassy and put the other party’s witness on the spot in front of the jury.

My last practice with partner Carie Hall and (one of the firm’s founding partners) Dick Caldwell was so valuable. They let me go talk through pretty much anything I needed to practice. I started with Motions in Limine since I had never even practiced doing those before. They showed me how all I really needed to do was to ask the judge what I wanted in the simplest terms. That explanation made things a lot easier. By the end of the practice I reviewed most of the components of my trial with them and I was feeling a lot more confident but still ready for a weekend of Practice! Practice! Practice! at home.

Now the trial has come and gone and it was amazing. The virtual component did change the dynamic just a little bit. But it was nice not having to see so many faces watching me, it definitely would have made me more nervous! I was so impressed with Drew and Jose, and myself for all the work we did. I am also so proud of Drew, a fellow Stetson hatter, for winning the competition! Although, it was a lot of work I’m ready to do the trial all over again.