SU Mock Trial makes it to Nationals

Melissa Hanson
Journal Staff

Suffolk’s own student-run Mock Trial team has gone to the American Mock Trial Association’s Nationals for the first time in recent history, participating in the competition hosted by Pace University in White Plains, New York from on March 10 and 11.

The team has been an official organization for seven years, finally reaching their goal of making the opening round of nationals. The team had to score high in invitational competitions and regional competitions, where they proved they had the skills to participate at the national level.

“We did the best all year,” said team Vice President and Co-captain Huy Le, senior, on their participation at Nationals. “We finally jived as a team.”

Le described the competition as a “battle with evidence.” The Mock Trial team has seven competitive members who went to New York. To receive an invitation to Nationals, teams must place well at the Regional competitions. Each opening round of Nationals has 24 teams from different colleges compete against one another, and in order to continue to the final round of Nationals, teams must place in one of the top six spots.

Unfortunately, Suffolk’s Mock Trial team did not make it past the first round, but their initial goal was accomplished.

“The team did such an amazing job,” said President and Co-captain James Duffy. “It was so satisfying to see all their hard work pay off against the best programs in the country.”

All of the 24 teams Suffolk competed against in the opening round were from the Northeast region. From there, the team created trials and needed their witnesses, lawyers, and attorneys to match the trials of the other teams in the first round, especially the Ivy League schools. The team noticed that the judges were impressed with the skill level of Suffolk’s team, but were not suited to their Boston accents, according to Le. There were members of the team who could play the parts of attorneys and witnesses so well, according to Le. The team got erratic scores from judges, but overall did well; the judges were very impressed by the performances of the witnesses.

“I thought we had a good chance, I was confident we could go against the Ivy Leagues,” said Le.

The competition was very difficult according to the team, but they surpassed all their expectations and were pleased with their performance. “We came out with guns blazing,” said Le, who as team captain is pleased about the awards the team has won this year at various competitions. Senior James Duffy has won four “Best Attorney” awards for his performance as the Mock Trial attorney and senior Megan Dutra was awarded “Best Witness.” Freshman Ben Chertok will be president of the club next year. The Mock Trial team is also nominated for Most Outstanding Club as well as the Most Improved Club.

“I am really proud of us for getting all the way to nationals,” said Chertok.

The Mock Trial team is now looking to recruit members for next year. They are looking for committed members who are ready to enter tough and competitive trials.

“Suffolk was awarded in both categories and definitely put us on the map with returning winners,” said Dutra.

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