Meet Mock Trial’s Team Warren


Courtesy of Jonathan Wang

From left to right: Abigail Crawford, Luisana Gonzalez, Max Liu, Mahak Jain, Kevin Tang, Jonathan Wang, Annie Liu and Jalen Danzinger.

Hannah Edelman, Editor-In-Chief

Solon High School’s 11 Mock Trial teams traveled to either downtown Cleveland or Lorain County on Jan. 20 to compete in the district-wide competition. Team members ranged from freshmen to seniors, all of whom worked under the guidance of history teachers Rob Rivera and Mary Clare Lane. These high schoolers work to prepare a case and then reenact the trial twice at competitions as realistically as possible. A successful competition is one in which both the team’s plaintiff and defense sides win their respective trials.

Three teams advanced to the regional competition, which will take place Feb. 10 at the Cuyahoga County Courthouse: Team Warren, Team Rehnquist and Team Burger. Team Warren, also known as the officer team, consists of eight members, six of whom are seniors. The regional competition will be their final opportunity to compete before graduation unless they advance to the state competition in Columbus.

As they continue to prepare their case, which involves defamation in the media, for the upcoming simulated trial, some Team Warren members shared their experiences with Mock Trial throughout their high school careers.

Annie Liu: Treasurer, Attorney

Senior Annie Liu joined Mock Trial her freshman year of high school. During her four years as a club member, she has won the district competition one time, during her junior year. She said that she dabbed when she found out her team was moving onto regionals.

“We made it our goal to make it this year because it’s our senior year,” she said. “There’s sort of been a streak of the officer teams not making it to regionals, so we’re just happy that we broke that streak. We’re happy that we’re one step closer to states.”

As the treasurer, Liu handles financial duties such as membership fees and forms. She also presents opening arguments and performs direct examinations as an attorney during competitions. Now that the district competition is over, she will work to continue editing and memorizing the case materials with her team for the next simulated trial.

“It’s pretty real,” she said. “It’s as close as you can get in a high school competition. You get nervous, but it’s a fun thing to do.”

Mahak Jain: Vice President, Attorney

In her four years of participation in Mock Trial, senior Mahak Jain has worked as an attorney on both the plaintiff and defense sides, with a focus on the opening argument. She also works to organize large-scale meetings and mentors younger teams over the weekends.

She explained that because her team won both the plaintiff and defense cases in the district competition, they were fairly confident they would move on to the regional competition. However, this didn’t make the victory any less exciting, Jain said.

“Because we’re seniors this year, it was really like a second shot to do what we love and we’re really thankful we were able to advance.” She said that although her team attended the regional competition last year, they were not able to qualify to compete in the state competition.

Jain won the Outstanding Attorney award and is now, as Rivera says, “putting all hands on deck” in preparation for the regional competition.

Jonathan Wang: Secretary, Witness

Jonathan Wang has participated in Mock Trial for four years, spending the first three as a lawyer. However, since it’s his senior year, he decided to switch it up and compete as a witness.

I found the idea of creating a character behind a name to be very exciting, and I still get the opportunity to argue with lawyers on the stand,” he said. He plays the role of Cameron Carter, the executive of the news station sued in the team’s case.

As the club’s secretary, Wang helps guide new members in the competition process in addition to handling emails and forms. Since there’s no law education precursor prior to joining the club, officers have to train members about the different aspects as well as basic courtroom etiquette, Wang explained. He said that building confidence is one of their main focuses.

Because of a conflicting Science Olympiad competition in Boston, Wang was unable to attend the district competition awards ceremony. However, once he found out his team was moving on to the regional competition (from a teammate’s Snapchat story, no less), he said he was relieved all of the team’s hard work had paid off.

Wang is now working to polish his presentation so that he doesn’t get overly anxious or forget information while on the stand.

“It’s hard to remember things like that when you’re in the heat of the moment in actual competition, so we try to mimic it as much as possible in our practices, both with other teams and within our own team,” he said.