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The Grimsley mock trial team in suits and in a court room ready for anything

Pictured: (Front Row Left) Dhruti Gite, Lia Mun, Maddie Testa, Renas Wigyealla, Jun Xi Tan

(Top Row Left) Lucia Lomax, Evan Harbin, Nikhil Nataraju, Anish Nerella

Objection Your Honor!

Grimsley’s Mock Trial Club prepares students for the future.

By Ava Lani Schmutzer

Feb. 29, 2024

Grimsley students have big plans for the future, and many will tell you becoming a lawyer is their aspiration. However, some take it a step further and begin their career with a head start by literally practicing law. 


Students in the Mock Trial Club are given a fictional case, and they must form a prosecution and defense team to argue the case. The club is a challenging and engaging way for members to tap into their argumentative side. 


Students are handed an enormous packet of information to use for constructing a believable argument. Students are assigned to be on either prosecution or defense, usually in a make-believe case.


Sponsored by social studies teacher Ms. Emily Quinn, Grimsley’s Mock Trial Club might be young, but it’s on fire. So far, multiple students have won awards, including sophomore Lia Mun for Best Witness from both the judge and the competition. Freshman Maddie Testa and Sophomore Nikhil Nataraju also received awards from other competing teams.


Mock Trial is a seasonal sport, and each school year cases alternate between civil and criminal. This year, Grimsley’s team worked on a first-degree murder case, with two subteams advocating for prosecution and defense. 


Often, mock trial crosses over into the real world of law as students are mentored by lawyers, and legal professionals judge the event.


“It was really cool getting to learn about how court proceedings work,” said Testa, who played a defendant and a prosecution witness. “And getting to practice our knowledge in an actual courtroom.”


Members specialize in real aspects of a murder trial, with some focusing on cross-examination and others delivering the opening and closing arguments. Someone specializing in rebuttal needs to be quick on their feet, creating arguments in just a few short minutes!


Mock Trial isn’t all about writing legal arguments and analyzing documents. Some students play witnesses and must hone their acting skills. Witnesses are called to testify and give their best performance as the character involved in the case. 


“In the beginning it seems like a lot of work, and I was stressed about the amount of improv and thinking on my feet that I had to do,” Testa said, “But once I got to know the case, it was basically like being in a play.”


The students also have an excellent opportunity to improve their leadership skills. As president of Grimsley’s team, Dhruti Gite is responsible for leading the team toward victory, creating a cohesive force for defense or indictment.


“I really like how organized and straightforward the club organization was,” Testa said. “Ms. Quinn, Dhruti, and Lia did a really good job!” 


For many students, Mock Trial is a brilliant way to spice up their college entries, as well as gain real-world experience with working on a team in law. The team also has big plans for the future with a field trip to Elon Law School.


Being on the team feels “empowering,” said Nataraju, who played a prosecuting attorney.


“You can ask your team members for help,” he said. “You’re not by yourself. Being there, overall, boosts your confidence, [improves] your speaking abilities, and benefits you in the field of law.” 


Grimsley’s Mock Trial team is, without objection, a true asset to our students.

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