DMAE’s Mock Trial Team Quarter Finals Success

Mock Trial teaches you how to speak in public and think critically, but it’s so much more than that.

— sophomore Christopher Slipiec

On January 9, 2019, the DMAE Mock Trial team attended the first round of the 2019 Mock Trial Competition at the Hackensack Courthouse in Hackensack, NJ. Over the course of several weeks, the team won points that led them to competing in the quarter finals.

“I was very proud of the effort and dedication demonstrated by this year’s group. We advanced to the quarter finals, which is an amazing achievement,” club adviser Roslyn Powell said.

The team consisted of nine members, divided between plaintiff and defense sides, who took on roles as lawyers and witnesses for the civil case they were arguing: seniors Nicholas Cella, Xiaoduo Chen, Won Choi, Vera Kiriljuk, Lysa LeGros, Jacob Lyanders, junior Dekyi Tenzin Tsotsong, and sophomores Rachel Park and Chris Slipiec. The DMAE team won the first round, which consisted of three individual competitions, and ultimately advanced to the second round which they lost.

This year’s case was Avery Mansion vs. Captain Kidd’s Pier. Mr. Mansion, an art student, filed suit against the adventure park Captain Kidd’s Pier, claiming that he got a spinal cord injury while riding a faulty roller coaster there. He claimed that the injury caused a disc problem in his spine affecting his ability to draw and causing him to lose his scholarship at Rutgers University. The defense questioned why Mr. Mansion waited more than two months to get his injury checked out. The plaintiff responded that he did not have insurance at the time and thought he could overcome the injury through home care. Both sides provided other strong points, including a doctor’s expert medical analysis of Mr. Mansion’s medical history.

While the legal discourse did get loud at moments, the teams articulated their arguments effectively.

“The mock trial competition was a lot of fun! I’m happy to have been part of it, and that we came so far in the competition,” senior Lysa Legros said.

Mock Trial simulates a real courthouse trial in a real courtroom setting, giving students the chance to approach judges, be dramatic, file motions, and so on, much like TV dramas. Teams from various high schools across Bergen County met at the Hackensack Courthouse to replicate a real legal proceeding. The simulation was judged by real lawyers and judges. This year, the DMAE team competed against Bergen Catholic High School, Fair Lawn High School, Cliffside Park High School, and Northern Valley Regional High School.

“Mock Trial teaches you how to speak in public and think critically, but it’s so much more than that. You get to meet new people and have fun, which is invaluable to me,” explained sophomore Christopher Slipiec, a first-time attendee of the competition.

The DMAE team began preparing for the competition in early October during after school meetings that often lasted three hours. Ms. Powell hopes to enter a DMAE Mock Trial team in the competition again next year.