Mock Trial Wins State Championship

View photos of the champions in action.

The Winsor School’s mock trial team has won its first-ever state championship in the Massachusetts Bar Association’s Mock Trial Program. Winsor captured the 2010 title by defeating Pioneer Valley Performing Arts Charter Public School of South Hadley, a past champion and finalist, in the March 26 final trial at historic Faneuil Hall in Boston.

Making its own history, Winsor became the first girls’ school to win the state title in the records of the program. As state champions, the team earned the right to compete for the national title in Philadelphia, May 6-9, 2010.

Now in its 25th year, the competition drew an impressive field of more than 100 teams statewide. For more information on the finals, click here to read the association's online news story.

It was the Winsor team's first time in the finals, an amazing feat in and of itself for a small team that only began competing six years ago. The finals represented the culmination of months of practice and strategizing by the 12-person Winsor team, led by the senior trio of Amy Bridge, Sana Sharma and Maggie Yellen, faculty advisor Laura Antuna and its volunteer coaches, Judge David Weingarten P'12 and attorney Joshua McGuire.

This year’s championship teams tried a civil case in which the plaintiff suffers a substantial financial loss after investing a daughter's college funds with a financial advisor at a brokerage firm.

Keys to Success
“We prepared for each trial as if it were the state championship,” Kriti Subramanyam ’11 notes, “and spent hours every day over spring break rereading the case material, preparing examinations, and rewriting parts for the upcoming trial.”

“One real key to our success has been the fact that we were equally confident and well-prepared for both the plaintiff and defense sides,” she adds. “Even though all of the trials after the ‘Sweet 16’ round were preceded by a coin toss to determine which side each school would play, the outcome of the coin toss did not matter to us.”

Another key: “we have two of the most dedicated, kind and experienced coaches in Massachusetts and beyond,” says classmate Juliette Rando ’11. “They give up their Friday nights, Sunday afternoons, and weekdays reserved for trials in order to coach us. However, they don’t tell us the answers; they identify the problem areas and challenge us to find the solutions. Because of this method of teaching, we’ve been able to develop a deep understanding of the logic involved in the legal process.”

Team Spirit
“I consider Mock Trial to be similar to a team sport: a commitment to the entire team,” Elizabeth Garcia ’11 reflects. “I think that we care about each other and I am really lucky to have my teammates as friends too.”

Juliette echoes her point: “My favorite part of being in Mock Trial is the team aspect of the sport. We really have a sense of identity as a team. We laugh together, and therefore we can work together easily and face the challenges. At council’s table, we’re constantly passing notes and trying to help each other out by suggesting objections or points to include in the closing argument.”

Shared Goals—and Memories
Adds Elizabeth: “I think every team member shares the same goals—understanding the case as deeply as possible, performing to the best of our abilities, and winning trials. We work really hard together outside of school and love supporting each other’s desire for improvement. I think it’s special that every single participant is incredibly self-motivated.

“We spend so much time together and have so much fun that every Mock Trial related experience I've had for the past three years has been a rewarding time for learning,” she concludes.

“They have made me enjoy every minute I spend with them,” says Ms. Antuna. Every trial “leaves me more impressed and with unforgettable memories.”

The nationals promise even more memories. The team can't wait to compete.