Mock Trial Triumphs at County's

The Lawrenceville Mock Trial team was victorious at the Mercer County Championship of the Vincent J. Apruzzese High School Mock Trial Competition this past Wednesday.

The Lawrenceville Mock Trial team was victorious at the Mercer County Championship of the Vincent J. Apruzzese High School Mock Trial Competition this past Wednesday. One of 12 schools in the competitions, the team advanced through three rounds, ultimately winning in the finals against Marshall Academy. The team is lead by president Emilia Onuonga ’19 and advised by Mr. Atlee ’62 H’74 ’75 ’79 ’83 ’84 ’87 ’06 P’92 along with attorney coaches Christopher DeAngelo and Lydia Keephart. The team’s attorneys were Onuonga, Jimmy Chen ’20, Kate Liu ’19, and Mayeli Santos ’19.

The Vincent J. Apruzzese Mock Trial Competition is an annual event that is sponsored by the New Jersey State Bar Foundation. Now in its 37th year, the competition is one of the nation’s foremost of its kind for high school students. Through mock trial, students participate in real world simulations of legal processes, helping them gain real experience in legal argumentation.

Preparation for the tournament began several months in advance. In early October, the team received a fictional case with surrounding circumstances and witness statements. The team was then tasked with preparing argumentation for both the plaintiff’s and defendant’s sides. Subsequently, the team met regularly to discuss different arguments, run through practice debates, and become accustomed to legal procedure.

When asked about the team’s preparation, Chen, a plaintiff attorney, described the help of the attorney coaches, saying, “We spent a lot of time talking about the case with our attorney coaches. [DeAngelo] helped us a lot with the details of our mock personal injury case, and [Keephart] helped us with courtroom practice and procedure.”

The competition took place in two phases. The Saturday prior to the Championship, the team took part in the preliminary rounds, defeating two schools. Afterwards, the team defeated the Princeton International School of Mathematics and Science and advanced to the finals where they faced Marshall High School.

Reflecting on his experience, Chen said, “The competition was helpful to learn about arguments we had previously thought of, along with the satisfaction of applying our hard work.”

On Thursday, February 7, the team will compete in the Regional Competition at the New Jersey State Center.

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