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Westfield rocks the courtroom

Katie Bolduc

Staff Writer

February 26, 2024

We rest our case - At the Hamilton County Courthouse, the mock trial team, Dani Montgomery, Addison Laub, Layan Khader, Ava Legeay, Cadence Schrock, Ella McGrath, Katie Bolduc, and Eliana Reynolds, (David Young not pictured) set up their case on the plaintiff stand in the courtroom of Judge Gookin.

The courtroom is set. On one side sits the plaintiff- Blake Toomy, a 97-year-old who blames a medication for causing him to develop Restless Leg Syndrome. On the other side, Alameda LLC, the drug manufacturer here to defend its image. Both sides come well-prepared with expert witnesses, 100-plus pages of evidence, and objections at the ready. Except this isn’t an actual case. 

After a years-long pause, the mock trial team at WHS is taking to the courtroom competition scene. 

“Mock trial is a group where we get together and assign people attorney and witness roles,” co-president and plaintiff attorney Addison Laub said. “We go to competitions and do a trial as if we were in real court. We make objections, and we do opening and closing statements and question witnesses.” 

Before the team would see the courtroom, however, they had to have a team in the first place.

“This is actually our reboot year,” club sponsor Mrs. Emily Hahn said. “We were around for a while, but then we lost sponsorship. We decided to revamp it this year, and this is our first year back.” 

One of the most important steps to ready the team was preparation. 

“Quite a bit of preparation goes into being an attorney,” Laub said. “You have to meet with your partner attorneys, so you’re on the same page. The same goes for your witnesses, so when they are being questioned, their story is the same throughout. There is a lot of communication and planning what you are going to say and being prepared for things you aren’t expecting like objections.” 

Witnesses like Cadence Schrock also have their fair share of pre-trial work. 

“A lot of memorizing and reading goes into being a witness because I have to answer everything exact or I can get objected or even get my testimony striked out,” Schrock said. “There’s not a lot of pressure to prove your side right, but you have to answer truthfully and honestly. The biggest challenges are making sure you don’t mess up on your words and are confident with what you have.” 

Along with practices throughout the week, every Wednesday sees the team travel to the Hamilton County Courthouse for competition against other schools, a new challenge for all involved. 

“We’re getting our feet wet,” Mrs. Hahn said. “We are learning so much and have done really well against two seasoned teams. We definitely got a dog in the fight. We have learned a lot by watching other teams, what’s working and what isn’t.”

On Wednesday, January  31, the team went head-to-head against Fishers while on the plaintiff's side. 

“I feel like we presented our evidence very well and were competent and well-spoken,” Addison said after the trial. “We probably could have objected a little more but I think that will come with time and being more confident.” 

As the mock trials rage on, many of the team are looking to the future. 

“I think the environment is really great and getting to see what it’s like in a courtroom,” Cadence said. “It’s cool to feel out how this would be if I actually pursued it as a career.”

For Mrs. Hahn, the sights are set on watching the team grow stronger. 

“Triumphs? Lots of them,” Mrs. Hahn said. “We’re really giving it out all, and we’re really excited to see where this season takes us. They’ve learned so much, and even though this is only our second week, I’ve seen them grow, not only in the mock trial process and the competition, but also, they’ve become friends. It’s an amazing thing to watch.”

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