Mock trial makes it to States for first time


Members of Mock Trial pose together prior to the State competition.

On Mar. 5 members of Mock Trial sat together in Room 102, waiting to hear the results of their regional competition. The group jumped up, cheering and hugging each other, as their team was called as one of the schools who qualified for the State Competition. 

This was the first time Mock Trial made it to States. 

Mock Trial is a student-led academically competitive club that takes part in simulated court trials. Members spend months preparing their case for a case theory and take the role of attorneys, plaintiffs, or witnesses during trial.

President Ayesha Rahim said she was very proud of the team for the achievement.

“It was a very heartwarming moment for me knowing that our team had finally worked so hard and became so bonded and passionate about the competition that we were able to make it to states,” Rahim said. 

Rahim said this was especially true given the challenges the group faced this year. 

Mock Trial usually sends two teams, usually distinguished by skill level and commitment to the club, to Regionals. This year, however, over half of the Mock Trial’s members dropped out a month before Regionals due to scheduling conflicts. 

This led to the team having to switch around some people’s roles at the last minute so the requirements of each team could be met. 

“I think the team really rose to the challenge and accepted that this is what we have to do,” Rahim said. 

Rahim said it was an honor to be a part of the first team to make it to States, an achievement she said she felt was deserved. 

“We all wanted it usually in past years, but a couple of us would be a little too busy, you know. We feel a little overstretched on how committed we are, and so we can’t give our 100% focused Mock Trial,” Rahim said. “I think this year, the members just really wanted it and I’m more proud of them for that.”

Based on the feedback the team received from judges during Regionals, they prepared their case for States. 

“For us, we had a really strong case going into Regionals and then we had a week [to prepare] based off of her feedback, so it was just last minute touch ups,” Rahim said.

At Regionals, the team competed in three rounds, with each round being a different perspective of a case. The first round was Defense, the second was Plaintiff, and the third was Defense again

Rahim said the first and second round saw positive reviews from judges. By the last round, she said she was confident that the team would make it to States.

“The last Defense round was where it really clicked that we do have a chance at that State spot,” Rahim said. “Of course, we weren’t like ‘It’s a guarantee’ because we had never made it to States before, but we were pretty confident by that last round.”

The actual State competition, hosted by the Michigan Center for Civic Education, was held over Zoom this year as opposed to the usual courtroom. As a result, the team came together in Room 102 for the competition. 

Rahim said the atmosphere in the room was a lot more relaxed than it would have been in a courtroom, where the atmosphere is more serious and quiet. 

“We were in a room that we were familiar with, rather than, if it was an in-person year, we would be in a random courtroom that we’ve never been in before,” Rahim said.

Cameras had to be turned off when competitors were not actively competing, allowing the team to work together more closely and share information with each other. 

“I will say that Mock Trial competitions are easier when you’re with your teammates,” Rahim said. 

The team made it through two preliminary rounds, but failed to advance to the semi-finals. When it was announced that the team had not advanced, Rahim suggested the team go out for team bonding. 

“As president of Mock Trial, I understand what it feels like to not advance to the next round. That was a new feeling to a lot of new members,” Rahim said. “So after we didn’t advance, I actually suggested that we go out for team bonding and we all went to go watch ‘Batman.’”

Rahim said the entirety of the season, coupled with team bonding, allowed the team to become a close tight-knit family. 

“An inside joke we had at Novi Mock Trial was, the case this year was about company negligence. The Plaintiff’s argument this year was ‘Trust. That is what today’s case has been about,’” Rahim said. “You’ll hear that line on competition day so many times.”

“We said that ‘Trust. That is what today’s competition is about. That is what today’s team is about.’ And we all very much trusted each other to help each other out during the competition and after.” 


Photo Credit: Megan Chapin-Dube

Edit made Apr. 10, 2022