Mock Trial Ties for Fourth, Searching for Coach


Team one of Mock Trial prepares for the coming round. Photo submitted by Mary Pham.

The King’s College Mock Trial tied for fourth place at Patrick Henry University’s invitational Jan. 28-29.

Fifteen members carpooled to Virginia in three cars, encountering interesting adventures (like getting lost in West Virginia). Mock Trial competed against 21 other teams from Dickinson College, American University, College of the Holy Cross, Weber State University and Lafayette College.

King’s received approval from 5 of the 8 judges (5-3). Leah Trouwborst (’15) received the award for Best Witness.

“We’re starting to make a name for ourselves,” Pham said. “This is a big accomplishment.”

Jonathan Irwin, Jordan Williams and Mary Pham started Mock Trial in the fall of 2010. It is now a part of The American Mock Trial Association (which includes Yale, Auburn, New York University, Harvard and University of Pennsylvania).

Mock Trial welcomes many participants with or without experience. John Sailer ('15) joined two weeks before Patrick Henry. Photo submitted by Mary Pham.

“We lost a lot of people last year,” Mary Pham (’13), president, said. “But we laid down good foundations to restart this year.”

Members of Mock Trial hope for King’s to offer Mock Trial as a credit for the Pre-Law minor in the near future. In order to become more competitive, they are searching for a coach. Pham and Irwin, who have competed in Mock Trial since high school, currently teach members about court procedures and the law. But they admit, their knowledge is limited.

“Most school’s coaches are attorneys who have experience,” Pham said. “It’s difficult for us because we don’t know as much about the law.”

Without a coach, the organization is a culmination of students’ hard work and devotion. At the end of August, AMTA sends out the case packet that this year’s competition will be based on, including rules of evidence, affidavits and other information. Most of this year’s members had no prior experience of mock trial.

“I went to the club meeting and wanted to be involved,” Abigail Salvatore (’15), a member of Mock Trial, said. “It takes a lot of preparation. I’d rather work on Mock Trial than do my homework. I love it.”

Besides meeting once a week, members study the case packets thoroughly. Strategy and planning all depend on the circumstances of the trial, and each person on the team must be ready and flexible to adapt quickly. Mock Trial’s two teams represent attorneys and witnesses.

Mock Trial team poses together at Patrick Henry. Photo submitted by Mary Pham.

“I’m really proud of the team, especially with the freshman for stepping up,” Luke Trouwborst (’14), a member of Mock Trial and Leah Trouwborst’s brother, said.

During the 2010-2011 school year, King’s Mock Trial participated in two invitational competitions and one regional competition. The year before, Mock Trial built a good relationship with University of Pennsylvania’s Mock Trial. In turn, they invited King’s to the Quaker Invitational at UPenn, which took place during the House Basketball Competition. Jonathan Irwin won Best Attorney at UPenn.

Jonathan Irwin ('13) questions Sonia Jensen ('15) during the case. Photo submitted by Mary Pham.

“Many of us received competition experience,” Salvatore, who competed at UPenn for the first time, said. “It gave us inspiration to keep working hard.”

In the following weeks, Mock Trial prepared for their next competition at Patrick Henry.

“We need to win,” Grant Olson (’14), member of Mock Trial, said. “Then the school would see that there are people who are good at this and should invest.”

Mock Trial will attend the regional competition at Lafayette College the last weekend of February.