Corporate, The Profession

Mock trials show students exciting side of legal profession

By Staff

Mentoring students through the mock trial process offers lawyers an ideal opportunity to give back, as well as a chance to show high school students how enjoyable the legal profession can be, Toronto business lawyer Inga Andriessen tells

Andriessen, principal of Andriessen & Associates and chair of the Ontario Justice Education Network (OJEN) Halton Committee, has co-ordinated local tournaments for the OBA/OJEN Competitive Mock Trials for a number of years. Earlier this month, she helped kick off this year’s Halton Public High School Mock Trial Tournament, co-organized with Garth Webb Secondary School teacher Melissa Senn, with eight teams participating.

Teams include at least six, and no more than eight, students, who form a ‘core team’ of lawyers and witnesses. Participants must prepare to play the roles of Crown and defence, and the team’s lawyers are required to deliver an opening statement and closing arguments, as well as conduct four examinations — direct examinations of their two witnesses, and cross-examinations of the other side’s two witnesses.

“My work for this tournament included finding eight lawyers to volunteer as judges, providing information ahead of the tournament in email form and hosting a Q&A phone call ahead of each tournament,” says Andriessen.

“On the day of the tournament, I am the one who makes decisions on alleged rule violations, I tabulate the scores and announce the results of the tournament, including which four teams move onto the Halton High School Mock Trial Championships on May 10 against the top four finishers in the Halton Catholic senior tournament,” she adds.

Andriessen also assisted in organizing 16 lawyers to act as judges for this year’s Halton Catholic senior and junior Mock Trial Tournaments, to be held at the Queen Elizabeth Park Community & Cultural Centre in mid-April.

This year’s Halton High School Mock Trial Tournaments will culminate in the championships on May 10 at the Milton Courthouse.

Andriessen, who is running the championship tournament, was tasked with finding 12 lawyers to volunteer as judges, organizing catering, providing participants and volunteers with information ahead of the competition, and hosting a Q&A phone call ahead of the event.

On the day of the tournament, she will be responsible for making decisions on alleged rule violations, calculating the final scores and announcing the winner.

“I enjoy running the tournaments as the kids are so excited to participate and it’s a chance to show them that law can be fun and lawyers can be encouraging — not just scary people,” says Andriessen.

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