From January-April 2022 the Pre-Law Society and Pre-Law Program hosted a Mock Trial Competition using a fictitious case of child abuse called State of Montclair v. Taylor Lamb. The Montclair v. Lamb case is a slightly modified version of the original problem written by Nick W. Lee for the 2017 Phi Alpha Delta (PAD) Mock Trial Competition and was provided in-kind by the interfraternity. In this year’s competition, four teams made of three to four students competed for the recognition of Best Mock Trial Team, Outstanding Student Advocate, and Outstanding Witness. Two members of each team played the role of student-attorney while the other two members (or just one member, as it was in one team’s case) play two witness roles for each round.
Each team attended virtual or in-person coaching sessions to prepare their arguments and “case in chief” as both prosecution and defense. Students who prepared for the role of attorney received coaching from an experienced member of the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office and learned how to apply the Rules of Evidence to the fact-finding process and prepare to make objections that support their case strategy. Faculty members from Justice Studies, Paralegal Studies, Justice Studies, and Jurisprudence, Law and Society supported Mock Trial participants as coaches and judges for the competition.
The Mock Trial Competition began with four teams competing in two rounds; two teams were invited to compete in round three. Winners of the Mock Trial Awards were selected after weighing several factors in addition to calculating points given by judges in each round. In addition to the award winners, several participants stood out for their ability to execute their role(s) effectively as well as support their teammates when unforeseen challenges were presented. One team had a member that played the role of four different witnesses while another team had a member take on the tole of student-attorney role just days before arguments for the competition were to begin. Each team was successful in overcoming obstacles in order to present their case and our judges were thoroughly impressed.
In early May, the Pre-Law Society President Nazish Naeem presented the trophies to the 2022 Mock Trial Competition awardees before presiding over elections for next year’s Pre-Law Society leadership positions. During the award presentation, several Mock Trial participants expressed how much they enjoyed the experience and could actually apply what they learned in the competition to their viewing of the Johnny Depp v. Amber Heard trial that is being televised. Congratulations to all of the Montclair State University 2022 Mock Trial Competition participants and stay tuned for information about the 2023 Mock Trial Competition.
Mock Trial Competition Team Roster:
Team 1: Emma Geoghegan, Elijah Gervais, Victoria Reamer, Emayzyah Reeves
Team 2: Nashita Chowdhury, Lilia Franco, Aiman Kashif, Samantha Macpherson
Team 3: Marielina Halabi, Emily Perri, Mellisa Sammy
Team 4: Sonya Agnew, Nour Fostok, Elen Nossier, Ludovico Povolo
Mock Trial Competition Winners:
Best Mock Trial Team: Team 3: Marielina Halabi, Emily Perri, Melissa Sammy
Outstanding Student-Advocate: Samantha Macpherson
Outstanding Witness: Elijah Gervais