West Mock Trial faces court date


Emily Hartman

Mr. Bierbaum (left) and Dani Cross (right) respond to questions at a Tuesday Mock Trial meeting.

Emily Bauman, Staff Reporter

Order in the court! Back in November, Mr. Bierbaum held an informational meeting for a club, Mock Trial,  that he described as challenging and fun.   Mock Trial is meant for future lawyers and law enthusiasts to prepare, present, and conduct a real-life trial in a courtroom.

This year, almost 60% of his Mock Trial team is new to the activity.With the help of the Mock Trial coaches, these students got the opportunity to learn about law and court then utilize these skills together to be successful.

Coach Bierbaum is no stranger to Mock Trial. He participated in Mock Trial himself, helped as a student teacher, and has been coaching at West for 13 years. This makes him and the rest of the team ready to have a strong season.

Assistant coach Mrs. Unsbee, is also a social studies teacher at West. Mr. Bob White is a retired lawyer who volunteers to assistant coach for West. With the help of all three coaches, the relatively fresh-faced team was ready for a long and challenging season.

At the beginning of each Mock Trial season, the group is given a case, then members fill positions such as, opener and closer, witness, direct, cross opening, and closing witnesses on both A and B teams.

During practices, members work on bettering their side of the case to win the trial and making rough drafts to get reviewed by advisors. Outside of practice, members are also writing, memorizing and practicing their specific roles.

The trial sequences practiced then gets used at competitions with other schools in the state.  West Mock Trial is looking forward to competing at the state level on March 24th.

Normal West’s opener and closer. Emily Hartman (11) said, “At competitions, we are put into a random draw to see who we will compete against. Plaintiff and defense then present our trial. We get judged by lawyers and real judges on our professionalism, courthouse etiquette and the overall presentation of the case”.

For students, Mock Trial becomes more than a court case. Senior Dani Cross, who has been doing Mock Trial since her freshman year said, “Mock Trial is a fantastic place for me to come and learn about law, leadership, and teamwork”.

Mock Trial is a challenging club that utilizes a love and interest in law and public speaking abilities into long-lasting future skills or careers.

As the season nears its end, Bierbaum reflected: “I’m very proud of the kids for all they do. We get a case in November and have state in March. They are able to make so much progress that I’m so proud of”.