Mock Trial Competition “Appeals” to Future Attorneys

The Cristo Rey Jesuit Mock Trial team is one of 14 school activities and clubs students can join.

A trip to participate in Stanford Law School’s Intensive Law and Trial Summer Program two years ago spurred Cristo Rey Jesuit senior Ariana Juarez to create Cristo Rey Jesuit’s 2020-21 Mock Trial team. Juarez’s trip to Stanford was partially funded by her Corporate Work-Study Program (CWSP) employer, Beck Redden LLP law firm. During the four years Juarez worked for Beck Redden LLP, Juarez expressed interest in becoming an attorney when speaking with Beck Redden Partner Kate Skagerberg. “Ariana and I have had great discussions about her goal to be a trial lawyer,” Skagerberg said. “She invited me to be the attorney coach for the team and I was delighted to have the opportunity.”

Miles Tiemeyer, Cristo Rey Jesuit Office Coordinator for the Dean of Students, is the team’s faculty advisor. 

Cristo Rey Jesuit Mock Trial team members recently participated in the Texas High School Mock Trial Competition. The team was assigned a mock trial case that included witness statements, exhibits, stipulations, and a jury charge. The student participants prepared both sides of the case and competed as both the prosecution and the defense at the tournament.

To prepare for the competition, students gathered weekly for months leading up to the competition and several times a week two weeks prior to the competition. Skagerberg worked with the team on elements of a trial like preparations to examine witnesses and how to admit exhibits. 

Skagerberg supported team members during the competition, watching each round as the Cristo Rey Jesuit team competed via Zoom calls. “Team members did very well for their first year as a team,” Skagerberg said. “They were professional and prepared.”

“I had always known that I wanted to be an attorney,” Juarez said. “It took about a year of planning, but organizing this year’s Mock Trial team has been one of my biggest accomplishments. I am so grateful to Dean Jones, Mr. Tiemeyer, and everyone else at CRJ for helping us create a team, and for Beck Redden LLP for supporting me.”

“Working with the Cristo Rey team gave me the opportunity to see the fundamentals of trying cases through new eyes as the team members learned each step of the process,” Skagerberg said. “I was inspired by their dedication and hard work as students put in countless hours to be prepared and to overcome uncertainty about public speaking. I count myself as very fortunate to have seen the team members’ progress from rookies, brand new to this competition, into polished advocates and Cristo Rey Jesuit representatives.”