Mock Trial 2018-2019 Season Preview


By Zubair Muhammad, Staff Writer/Blogger

Niles West’s very own Mock Trial team, a group of students dedicated to preparing for competition based court cases, are looking forward to a great season this year.

“Last year we did okay, it was a younger team, we did well but we didn’t make the top 8 last year but I think this year the goal is the limit. We improved, we took some steps in the right direction last year but we should definitely be good this year,” sponsor and history teacher Jason Stanford said.

According to Stanford, although the team received numerous awards in last years season, including placing top 5 in the Kane county competition and placing 9th in state, their ultimate goal is to work hard and compete for a state title.

“We expect to be great. If the kids work hard we should definitely compete for a state title this year and just be the best we can be” Stanford said.

Each season students compete in various regional competitions across Illinois counties.

“We have regional competitions spread out throughout Illinois. Basically we go to competitions around different counties in Illinois such as Kane county, Lake county, Cook county, Dupage county, etc, and we have our main state competition at U of I, at Urbana-Champaign, which happens once a year. And then we have a preseason competition in the fall. So this fall we are going to Atlanta, actually we are going next week on September 21 and we’re really excited. It’s called Empire,” senior and co-captain Taral Talati said.

Mock Trial members will be competing at an international level this Friday, September 21, at the Empire competition.

“Our first competition is actually coming up next Friday; it’s an international competition it’s called “Empire” and it’s in Atlanta, Georgia and we will be competing with students around the country and the world. So there will be some students from South Korea and North Korea,” Stanford said.

Although the 2018-2019 Mock Trial season ends at March at the state competition at U of I, the Illinois State Bar Association releases the state’s case on November 1st. After discovering their case students must prepare arguments and examinations.

“So we get our case from whoever runs the competition and we have to come up with direct examinations, cross examinations, opening statements, closing statements, and some pretrial arguments as well that we have to write and memorize,” junior and co-captain Christian Mancino said.

In the period between November and March, students intensively spend their time preparing for state.

“Oh man we take months to prepare. For our state competition it’s from November to March so all those months go to preparing for state. For this competition [Empire] we began preparing in July so the work never ends. You just have to keep refreshing your skills on how to object, how to create a cross or direct examination: you just have to do it over and over again until you learn,” Talati said.

“We spend a lot of time as team working together. We have practices many many times a week for hours at a time at least three times a week for intense competition seasons,” Mancino said.

With a record of past achievements and tons of practice behind their back, Talati has high hopes for this season.

“Last year we placed top ten in state and we placed top five in state the year before that. We hope to do just as well this year, if not better, our goal for Empire is top ten, and hopefully we get individual awards as well,” Talati said.

If anyone is interested in joining these future lawyers in their club meetings, try-outs for parts will be held throughout October and new members meet on Thursdays after school in room 3015. You could also check out their club website to see what’s going on and how you could get involved.