In Law & Justice class, Leesville students learn about the many complicated philosophies and underlying systems and terms of American law. During the first semester, theories and practices of civil law are expounded and analyzed.
The ultimate way for students to truly test and demonstrate their working knowledge of the law is through actually participating in the exercise. Therefore, at the beginning of second semester, a brief unit on court proceedings, such as writing and submitting complaints/responses, is taught.
All of these experiences culminate in the mock trial, where groups of two to three students operate as attorneys in a civil trial in a case against one another. There are six total cases throughout the class, and as civil cases, they involve issues of contracts and negligence.
Outside of acting as an attorney in their own case, students can assume the roles of witnesses, jurors, bailiffs and even the media.
Sonali Biswas, senior, said, “My favorite part of the actual trial was cross-examination because you got to be really assertive, and in our case, the plaintiff’s witnesses weren’t prepared very well, so when they couldn’t answer questions you really got to back them into a corner.”
Students even held voir dire, or jury selection, where potential witnesses are questioned to reveal potential bias. The familiarity of classmates did complicate things a little.
Biswas said, “It was definitely intimidating at first but really exciting once we got into the swing of things. Like it didn’t make a ton of sense until you were actually there doing it. I hope we can have another by the end of the year.”