Mock Trial prepares for January competition


Mock Trial club members attend the first meeting in the Alumni Commons to learn what to expect from the club this year.

Shania Turner, Guest Writer

Mock Trial prepares under the guidance of John Fatica for its only competition in January.

Fatica stated where Mock Trial prepares in the pre-season. He said, “We probably spend the most time going over each person’s role. Witnesses have statements they have to be very familiar with.”

Fatica also spends his time preparing for the January competition. He said, “I try and be familiar with the fact pattern and I try and reflect on the previous practice and think about what we could be doing differently or to emphasize the points where we need the most improvement.”

Fatica has a goal for the team to achieve this year. He said, “I’d like to advance past the first round.”

Marley Wilkinson, co-president, stated where she thinks the most detail was put in terms of the team itself before the competition. She said, “I think we spend the most time preparing the witnesses to be examined because that’s kinda the most important part.”

For Wilkinson, she planned to prepare in a particular way before she got the case files. She said, “My action plan is to actually read, so in the back of the case file, there’s this thing called the case law which explains to you the law of the case and I’ve never read it before so this year I think I’m going to try and read it even though it’s long and tedious.”

Nick Korzhiletsky, one of the club’s other officers, gave a different perspective on what the team focused on in the pre-season. He said, “I would say that something we spend the most time on is our direct and cross-examinations.”

Korzhiletsky addressed what others usually did when they are not with the rest of the team to prepare. He said, “Normally at the beginning…when we do have the case file, we go home and review it depending on what we would want to do in Mock Trial.”

Korzhiletsky also addressed what people did based on their roles in the club. He said, If you want to be a witness, you’d want to review the case law and any witnesses that you seem to be interested in but you want to know the general story. If you’re going to be a lawyer, you want to know the case law and pretty much the inside and out of the entire case file to make sure that you’re prepared for anything that happens.”

Wilkinson explained what usually happens when the club gained new members. She said, “I feel like a lot of it falls on themselves to get caught up with the club because it’s kinda hard to teach critical thinking skills. I feel like being supportive is a good way to make them feel comfortable.”

In the previous years, Mock Trial was not able to advance past the first round of competition and Fatica had an explanation for why that was and that also contributes to how preparation goes. He said, “I think this is true of real trials and it’s certainly true of Mock Trial competitions: we haven’t prepared hard enough. We haven’t been thorough enough in preparing.”