BY SHIMANA BOSE —
The mock trial team won their 13th consecutive regionals competition on February 13th.
Mock trial has had a long history of placing first in regionals.
“This is the 13th year in a row that we’ve won … regionals,” said Debra Schwinn, social studies teacher and mock trial coach.
Schwinn has been a coach for mock trial at Shorewood for almost seven years.
“One of the first things they asked me when they were hiring me was if I would coach the mock trial team,” Schwinn said.
Along with Schwinn, Nathan Bayer, trial attorney, has been a coach for the past fifteen years.
The team attributes their consistent success is due to their intensive training and practices.
“We practice three times a week, two hours each time. We started back in October, right when the case comes out,” said Alex Knitter, senior and varsity witness.
Each year the teams are given a case in the fall and have to prepare both sides of the case for the regional competition.
“It’s a battle of wits,” said Claire Howland, senior and varsity lawyer. “It’ll be a civil or criminal case and you’ll put together the case and compete against other schools in the area.”
This year, the team received a case on police brutality.
“Last year was a homicide, which was pretty straightforward,” Knitter said. “This year there are so many different ways to look at it and perspectives to take, so it’s a lot harder to anticipate what other teams are going to do, which makes it that more interesting.”
Initially, the teams are paired up randomly, but then the winning teams are power matched against each other. The matches are scored on presentation and preparation.
“It’s scored by … one main judge that sits and tries the case, they will answer to any objections and any business between lawyers, and underneath them there are two performance judges, whose only job is to give us a score from zero to ten on how well each segment of the case goes,” Knitter said.
The competition took place at the Milwaukee federal courthouse, in actual courtrooms. One of the highlights this year was the federal judges presiding over the matches.
“We’re high school students pretending to be lawyers … pretending to be witnesses in front of them and a lot of times they’ll say … you guys are better than some of the lawyers up here,” said Molly Eder, senior and varsity witness.
The varsity team went to the state competition on March 12 and 13 in the capitol building in Madison.