The Mock Trial team hopes to make history again

Suffolk University’s Mock Trial Team is the breeding ground for those looking to break into the field of all aspects of law, giving students a hands on experience of the inner workings of a court room by working on cases written by the American Mock Trial Association.

Over the summer AMTA distributes cases across the country to all schools that have Mock Trial teams. Students will take the cases and use them throughout the year in trials and tournaments, arguing it in the courtroom, using procedure and the rules of evidence to develop real-life strategies for real-world experience. The team takes on the role of prosecution/plaintiff or defense and another team from another school takes on the opposing role. Then both sides try the case using all their knowledge in the law, rules of evidence, and the case itself.

“Being a witness is the real creative aspect of Mock Trial,” said Tom Logan, a former team member who graduated in 2013. “Students can create personas that give them a look of different perspectives of proper court room etiquette.”

Adapting is a big part of Mock Trial; members have to get everything down to a science.

2013-2014 Executive Board: (from left to right) Treasurer Sabrina Chartrand, President Benjamin Chertok, Vice President Lane Dubreuil, Secretary Sarah Fraenkel
(Photo courtesy of Mock Trial’s Facebook page)

“It’s a science but also an art, allowing creativity in your argument, your theory…The one way I teach is very unorthodox,” said Mock Trial leader Benjamin Chertok. “You don’t write anything down, you have bullet points and concepts that you need to extrapolate from the witness…you have to adapt those questions because you never know who your witness will be.”

Mock Trial competes in the innovational, which are tournaments posted by other universities, including UNH, Tufts, Brandeis, UMass, and Boston College. Students Lane Dubreuil, a senior, Chertok, a junior, and Logan all won awards at last year’s innovational.

Following that, the next step is regionals and following that is the first round of nationals, which is called Opening Round Championships (ORCs). Following ORC’s, schools progress to the National Championship Tournament (NCT).

Last year was the first year for Suffolk to reach NCT, where the competition is normally between universities of Ivy League stature. This makes Suffolk’s Mock Trial team one of the only private colleges to face Ivy League schools, and sometimes even beat them too.

The group is dedicated, putting in around 70 hours around crunch-time of work on top of their already packed schedule. They start usually with two practices a week, both seven hours each. An almost entirely new team was able to get to nationals last year, helping students network with students from colleges across the nation.

While other schools have coaches, Suffolk does not. Although it may seem like a disadvantage, it has helped bridge a strong connection between students.

The past two years have been fantastic for Suffolk’s team since its inception seven years ago. Chertok is the only student at Suffolk to receive the most outstanding attorney at the National level, along with making it into the 2013 Boston Regionals top seven. Hoping to bring in fresh new recruits, the team looks fondly at what ever comes their way on the horizon.