Mock Trial is Now in Session

New Mock Trial Team Started at the University

politics-mock-trial-groupThe University is proud to announce the formation of a mock trial team. The team will be coached by Dr. Gregory Boredelon, lecturer of law.

The purpose of the mock trial team is to simulate court room proceedings so that students can understand the pressures of performing in a court room. The tournaments are sponsored by the American Mock Trial Association (AMTA).

Boredelon believes students will learn many skills that are necessary to become an effective attorney. Boredelon said,“The most focused skill learned is the science of trial advocacy, obviously. More importantly, it can show team members the ins-and-outs of daily litigation work for many newly-minted lawyers.” “However, having to learn rules of evidence and some trial procedure also is a bit like a college course because the team members will have to not only know these rules cold but also be able to apply them in a very quick manner when raising objections. Public speaking skills and acting are in there as well.”

The team is made up of six students: Katelyn Nawoyski (Team Captain), Alexandria Todd, Jenna Ferraro, Susan Pagano, Cara Turcich and Michael Lucia.

Katelyn Nawoyski, communication major, is excited for the opportunity not only to be on the team but to be its captain. Nawoyski said, “I got involved with Mock Trial because I am looking to go to law school after I graduate from Monmouth and I thought it would be good preparation for what I’d be doing in law school.” ”Professor Bordelon, our advisor and the Pre-Law advisor here at Monmouth, approached me about being captain of the team because of my position in the Pre- Law club, my leadership experience, and my plans to pursue law school, and I couldn’t help but to say yes. I think it’s going to be something really fun and really beneficial for my future at the same time.”

Alexandria Todd, senior political science major, shares Nawoyski’s enthusiasm. Todd, who is in the process of applying to law school, believes this is a great place to start. “I joined mock trial team for the invaluable experience of having practice in a courtroom setting,” said Todd.

The Political Science Department is excited to add the mock trial team to its rank of teams. Boredelon is thankful for the support of the Political Science Department.

“All faculty members of the Political Science and Sociology department have been incredibly helpful in getting this off the ground; our department’s willingness to get these types of studentcentered clubs going is truly phenomenal, and I think Mock Trial will be a great ‘sibling’ to Model U.N. and the Monmouth Debate Team,” said Boredelon. “Both the team and the pre-law club are open to all, so we’d love to have all parts of the MU community promote interests in these types of activities.”

Boredelon added, “I think that our students competing in inter-school mock trial competitions are great for the Monmouth community. Adding to our everincreasing national name recognition, the mock trial team will carry on the ‘hawk’ spirit when we compete in invitational tournaments this semester and regionals in the spring.”

Students of all majors are invited to join the team. Boredelon is optimistic that once the word of the team spreads it will lead to diversity from the many majors at the University. “I think as the program grows (we’re in our first year now), more and more students will become interested” Boredelon said. “What is great about mock trial is that it borrows from so many fields (policy, critical discourse, theatre, logic just to name a few) that no matter your major, you can be a part of it and have a great time meeting students from other universities with the same interests! So many students find their “niche” for law school studies in these types of competitions.”

Cara Turich, sophomore political science major, is hoping that the court room experiences will help her in the future. Turich said, “I joined mock trial because I want to be a lawyer and this club allows me to practice in the role.”

Boredelon said this was something he has wanted to do since joining the University community last year. “As pre-law advisor and club sponsor as well as teacher, I always want students to understand the substantive obligations of studying law and then becoming a lawyer,” said Boredelon. Therefore, in addition to encouraging pre-law members to seek out public service opportunities, I felt that aspects of the daily practice of law should be examined for students here at Monmouth.”

Boredelon also gives credit to his pre-law club executive board members. “I was curious to see what other opportunities exist out there for Monmouth students last year, which was my first year teaching at Monmouth. In the spring, I started thinking about the possibility of a mock trial team and the 11-12 pre-law club officers really did the footwork to research the viability of a team for this year (12-13); to that end those club officers last year, namely Jess Rohr, Lexi Todd, Kate Nawoyski, Dan Roman and Karina Bandy have a lot to do with why we have an actual team this year and why, looking into the future, ‘one’ team is only the beginning, we could have multiple teams competing as early as next year.”

Todd is excited to continue her work from pre-law club this year. Todd stated, “I most look forward to fulfilling the role of an attorney this year. I am excited to practice in an environment that is a close to a real court hearing as possible.”

The team will waste no time in heading to competition. Boredelon said, “This year the case is a civil case (the American Mock Trial Association alternates civil and criminal each year) and we know that it has something to do with an accident that occurs on an underwater diving expedition; we will start breaking down the problem soon. Team members will have to argue for both the plaintiff and the defendant in the case of Allen v. Neptune Underwater Expeditions; they really are building skills critical to the adversarial process of the American judicial system.”

Nawoyski is most excited for this part. “I’m most looking forward to our first tournament,” said Nawoyski. “I don’t really know what to expect. I’ve never done Mock Trial before! So I think it will be interesting and I can’t wait to get that first experience under my belt.”

Boredelon also said they will be competing in AMTA tournaments this year. “We’ve already planned at least one invitational tournament later in the fall semester with regionals in February of 2013,” he said. “We just started weekly practice but based on the amazing learning curve of this team and the willingness of the MU community and the Political Science and Sociology department to support this effort, we could possibly be ready for a second invitational later this fall.”

Sophomore political science major Susan Pagano is looking forward to the first competition the most. “I am most looking forward to our first invitational. All of the preparation and hard work that we put in will be put to the test in that first tournament. Even though it will be a little intimidating, I am so excited to actually go before the judge with my team and try the case to the best of our abilities,” Pagano said.

Not only is the mock trial team good for a student’s time in college but it also helps with future job prospects. William Hill, Assistant Dean of Career Services, said, “Mock trial teams help focus on growing practical real world experience.” He also says it helps enhance verbal communication, which is a huge bonus in any job field. Hill mentions that speaking in front of an audience is a major fear of people in general. “Mock trail helps with speaking in front of people and growing confidence in those situations.”

Boredelon echoes Hill’s statements adding, “I think as law schools shift their admissions standards to keep pace with the changing economy and advances in technology, there will be a call for more developed ‘legal’ skills before entering the J.D. program. That said, the advocacy skills built in a college mock trial arena are invaluable, putting our students well ahead of other law school applicants (for example, they will have already studied the law of evidence; something they’ll take in law school). Further, mock trial allows students to network with other students who may eventually become their colleagues in law school and in practice, not to mention meeting practicing lawyers and judges who help judge the competitions. This builds a student who will be more practice-ready.”

Nawoyski agreed with Boredelon. “I definitely think this club will help team members with future job prospects for a few reasons. It’s a rather small team with only six to seven participants, so it’s fairly competitive, meaning you have to stand out to get on the team. It gives members a fair amount of leadership experience. And, of course, it gives students ‘legal’ experience, in the means that it introduces them to legal terminology and the ways that lawyers work, presenting evidence, creating a defense, etc. The skills are appealing to not only employers, but to graduate and law schools.”

Todd believes this team offers hands on experience that few get to experience. “I absolutely think that this will help with future job prospects,” Todd said. Upon graduating law school, many applicants lack the hands-on experience that firms are looking for in their new employees. In this aspect, having participated in Mock Trial as early on as in my undergraduate studies will help to prove to employers that I have experience outside of the classroom.”

The mock trial team will have to advocate, persuade and prepare students for their competitions, but Boredelon has a bigger goal. He said, “[The team should] have fun, learn the competition rules and just get at it! This team has a lot of drive and has committed their busy schedules to giving this a shot, being trailblazers of sorts. All of the 12-13 team members are diligent, conscientious students, so all I have to do is ‘coach,’ they’ll take it from there. I believe as a teacher that if you believe that you can do it and you’ve prepared, then any ‘nerves’ that you get are just your body’s way of telling you, ‘You got this.’”

Students of all majors are encouraged to join the Mock Trial Hawks by reaching out to either Dr. Boredelon or showing up at one of their weekly practices. New members of all majors are welcome.

PHOTO COURESY of Dr. Gregroy Boredelon