Observer's Notes

The ideas of a thoughtful college student (Updated Whenever)

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    I'm Brian. This is my blog. I write about things that I think about, since verbalizing it helps me put things in more concrete terms. So here you'll find my occasional thoughts.
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Mock Trial Regionals

Posted by Brian on February 27, 2010

So, the Mock Trial regionals for this season were last weekend in Spokane. It was definitely a fun weekend. If nothing else, I learned that the team is a really great group to travel with. They’re talented, supportive, and most of all fun to hang out with.

It wasn’t really a winning season though. Out of eight judges over four rounds, we won two and lost six. Not exactly a stellar record. I didn’t win an All-Region Award either (I won two last year), which I’ll admit was disappointing. But despite that, I still feel like it was a totally worthwhile season. Mostly because it was more  of a learning season, for the team as a whole and definitely for me individually. I really feel like I’m growing in my advocacy skills, technically and substantively. I feel comfortable enough with the substance of trial that I’ve been able to focus on style. I think this was cemented for me when I was able to radically alter one of my cross-examinations after opposing counsel made an unexpected tactical move. I always used to wonder how attorneys managed to pay attention to so many different things in the courtroom while also trying a case. Now I’m starting to get it. And it’s fun.

I feel like I got a taste of real-world issues this season, too. I’ve been thinking lately about whether criminal law is really the field I want to go into. I’m starting to have my doubts, despite how much I love it. It’s not exactly a trade secret that law practice can be a difficult career. I’ve heard Rex say before that sometimes he’d have to take vacations after major cases because his body just couldn’t take the stress anymore. I got a (very small) taste of this. In our third round, the judges both said that I seemed angry. I think the first clue was when I started snapping at the defendant during Cross. Most of you have never seen me actually perform, but take my word that I’m usually much more controlled than that.

At the end of that round, I was straight-up exhausted. Performance-wise we were struggling, we had some tough breaks with our evidence getting excluded, and we’d been at this for two days with very little sleep. By the time I stood up to give my Closing, I just didn’t have the energy or passion that an aggressive argument demands. Not even close. And this is Mock Trial. As in, not real trial. That makes me wonder about how demanding real criminal trials are. I have no doubt that I could handle it, but I question whether I want to handle it.

I should sit down with Rex and talk about what the job was like for him.

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