NHS Mock Trial Club Prepares for Competition

By: Kaylee Farr

Students at NHS are being trained to take on a case and work towards justice, one Mock Trial at a time.

The Mock Trial Club is a team of high school students who play the parts of lawyers and witnesses in a fictional, legal case.

Mock Trial was founded by the Georgia Bar Association in 1987. Mrs. Nan Newman, NHS social studies teacher, and Mrs. Sherry Cornay, NHS social studies teacher, are sponsors of mock trial at NHS.

Mock Trial kicked off in late September, but the team did not get its case till October. The competition where the team will compete against other schools will be on January 30, 2016.

The competition will consist of students playing the roles of attorneys (lawyers), witnesses and time keepers, and local attorneys and teachers will serve as coaches at the competition.

“As an attorney you are responsible for framing the direct and cross examination questions. And there is one attorney per witness. And as a witness, you are responsible for learning your facts and statements,” Mrs. Newman explained.

The most important thing to remember while you’re in mock trial is to understand that you have to put in the effort to learn the law as well as practice defending and applying it.

Mrs. Newman elaborated, “That the case is lengthy. And you have to study the whole case, statements, evidence, and the law to form your theory of the case. And to be able to ask effective questions.”

“Newnan High School has had an attorney coach for at least seven years,” Mrs. Newman commented.

She said she enjoys watching students who know very little about the law become effective and comfortable in the court room.

Mrs. Newman has a personal and professional connection to the mock trial club, coming from her own professional life before becoming a teacher.

“I practiced law for thirty one years, and I served as a mock trial judge on several competitions. And I actually was the attorney coach for NHS mock trial team for two or three years,” She said.

Students can expect to develop a sense of pride after mastering the legal techniques, also building confidence when public speaking. In addition, there is a great deal of camaraderie on the team.

Mrs. Newman strongly recommends that students should consider joining the club if they have an interest in law or drama, or both.

“You could be a witness and be a drama student and not necessarily learn what it’s like to be a lawyer. It’s primarily for lawyers,” She said

Last year, the team won awards at their competition. This year’s team consists of many of the same members along with some new members that look to continue their success.