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Always Arguing: Mock Trial team continues to win, impress

By Alana Blum

Section: Features

January 28, 2011

A-TEAM: Mock Trial Team A poses at a competition.
PHOTO COURTESY OF Ryan Fanning

Brandeis’ Mock Trial team has only been around since 2001, but its recent victories and awards have proven that the club has come a long way in the past 10 years. The club, which started with a small group of core founders, now has approximately 30 members, who all have the opportunity to compete as witnesses or attorneys.

The club is also unique in that it is entirely student-run. Mock Trial teams from most other competing colleges are trained by attorney coaches.

Brandeis’ team, however, maintains a system in which older members train the newcomers. This system continuously proves itself as the team is able to compete in more invitationals than ever before.

The trick to winning is not simply knowledge of the law.

“The real key in Mock Trial: you always want to keep your composure, always want to appear in control. That’s what separates a good team from a great team,” Joshua Seiden ’13 said.

The team has consistently placed at top level tournaments. In October, Brandeis was invited to compete at the Columbia University Big Apple Invitational Tournament (CUBAIT) and took fifth place.

This past weekend, Brandeis’ Mock Trial Teams C and D competed at Villanova Rivalry Weekend. Two of the members from Team D were studying abroad last semester, so the team only had four days to prepare the case. Despite this major setback, the team still succeeded to win first place. Team C also performed well, placing third.

The pressure remains high during the next couple of weeks as regionals quickly approach. Most of the year is spent in preparation for regionals, in which the top eight teams get to proceed to the Opening Round Championship Series (ORCS).

This year, the case deals with a father who wants to hold a toy company responsible for his son’s death after the two-year-old boy died having consumed 25 beads out of his sister’s bead kit.

The attorneys and the expert witnesses have a crucial role to play. Effective communication among the teammates and the ability to recognize the opposing team’s strategy and improvise accordingly are all important elements to winning at Mock Trial.

“The skills you gain in Mock Trial could be applicable in every career,” explained the Mock Trial team’s president, Ryan Fanning ’11. For example, Mock Trial offers the ability to practice public speaking, effective communication and even the art of persuasion.

Teammates bond through a common interest. Whether united through their interests in law, public speaking or the desire to try something new, members end up spending many hours together in preparation for the tournaments.

“You spend a lot of time together,” said Avi Snyder ’13, captain of Team C. “The vast majority of that time is conducive to making good friends.”

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