Most high schoolers’ knowledge of the procedures and roles of the judiciary system is limited to a brief unit in government class. For members of Mercy’s Mock Trial team, however, knowing the many ins and outs of the regulations, roles, and procedures of a court case is all part of the job.
Well into its season, which began in October, the team of two seniors, four juniors, two sophomores, and two freshmen will be heading to the Mock Trial regional competition at the Oakland County Circuit Courthouse on Feb. 27, where they will compete against other teams through the performance of their prosecution and defense cases. This year’s case involves a fictional case of bullying and a bomb threat set in a hypothetical high school.
One of the team’s two senior captains, Nadia Hakim, whose role is that of an attorney in the case, feels good about the team’s chances this year.
“We have been working twice a week preparing the case, since tryouts in October,” said Hakim. “We’re making sure that we know the case better than any of the other teams. We want to make sure we are prepared for anything that might come up at the competition.”
The preparation Hakim mentioned is certainly evident in the team members’ dedication to improving their technique and attention to the ways in which their performance and actions stay true to those of real lawyers. The team recent went to the Oakland County District Court in Novi to perform its case in front of a real judge and lawyers. At the end, the team got feedback on its strengths and areas of improvement.
“It was really helpful to get feedback from people who are experts in this area and it was great to be able to practice in a real courtroom,” said Hakim.
While the regional competition is on the minds of most team members, Hakim is already thinking ahead to the state-level competition which will be held in March, and which the team will attend if it ranks high enough at regionals. Hakim, however, is not worried.
“We feel really prepared this year and think we have a really good chance of making it,” said Hakim. “We know what it takes to go, and we feel like we have the ability to make it there. We keep learning from previous years and each year the team improves.”