Mock Trial Club: A Place for Enthusiastic Future Lawyers

by Elsa Stoff

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Mr. Galante is excited for the start of another year leading Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School’s Mock Trial Club.  September’s meeting kicked off the club’s second year, and preparation for the upcoming competition season.

The club is preparing to compete against other schools in the Vincent J. Apruzzese Mock Trial Competition.  They attend five meetings prior to the tournament, where they practice the trial. The tournament against other school districts will commence in February.

This is the Mock Trial Club's second year of operation.

Tryouts for parts as lawyers and witnesses in the case are being held Friday, November 14th, in the auditorium.  Each member is eager to get a significant part in the trial.  They are studying relevant material and are expected to know the main idea of every part.  They have already put a significant amount of work into knowing the trial well.  And the preparation is their responsibility; reading and memorizing the events take place on their own time.  Mr. Galante and the members of the club are very serious about law.

Like Mr. Galante’s class policy, if you do not put in the time and effort, then you will not reap the rewards.  The club’s late policy is enforced; tardy people are not let in. This instills punctuality in the attendees and demonstrates the importance of the club to Mr. Galante and the participants.  Mr. Galante’s criterion is that he’s “looking for convincing and enthusiastic people.”

Last year, the club conducted a kidnapping case.  They competed in the tournament against Mater Dei and Red Bank Catholic.  Despite coming up short last year, Mr. Galante has high hopes for this competition.  He now understands the judges’ criteria.

This year’s case is about texting while driving.  The competition proctors choose the issue due to its current relevance in society.  Mr. Galante explained that it is a negligence case.  He separated the case into four different legal parts, and has carefully outlined each part’s significance.

The Mock Trial Club established some successful lawyers last year.   Senior Riley Herman fought as the defending lawyer in last year’s competition, and is eager to return to the stand.  Mr. Galante is optimistic that this experience and three years of history class will give her an edge.  He firmly believes that history defines law; an immense background in history helps a lawyer know what to do and understand the background of the argument’s concepts.

However, Mr. Galante does not discriminate against underclassmen.  Last year, sophmore Laura Courchesne fought for RFH as a freshman lawyer in the tournament.

Now the club prepares for the annual Mock Trial Competition.  They will be assessed by real judges in Freehold, who will determine the winner in the case.  The team cannot choose their stance in the trial, so they prepare for both sides with two separate teams, one for the prosecution and another for the defense.

These RFH students are dedicated, and are giving up their free time because they want to argue and study law.  They clearly understand the process of putting more effort into it to have more fun.  There was not going to be a shortage of fun for these ambitious students, because they are willing to work for it.

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Image:  http://www.pchs.k12.ca.us/newsletter/images/photos/sept2009/MockTrial.jpg

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