Sophomore initiates Mock Trial: A club for students interested in law


Julia Bychowski

Team members Anya Bhandari, Iglesias, Vishmitha Kumar, and Rylie Lockerman discuss the formation of their club and look into specific trial cases. The meeting was hosted at Bhandari’s house on Saturday, October 8th.

Aisha Rashid, Editor

After almost a year of preparation and hard work, sophomore Anya Bhandari, is now just a few steps away from establishing the first official Mock Trial club on campus. IB psychology and world history teacher Ms. Kafer will be the club’s sponsor, ensuring the club will meet a minimum of once a month and foster an environment where students interested in law can practice their competitive public speaking skills.

“I want to be a lawyer when I grow up,” president Bhandari said. “So, doing Mock Trial is a really good way to kind of accumulate everyone who wants to do that because we only have a business law class.”

A lack of law based programs and the crumble of the debate program over the past year prompted Bhandari to start Mock Trial. She recruited junior Cristina Orozco as vice president, junior Vishmitha Kumar as secretary, sophomore Julia Bychowski as communications director and sophomore Iglesias as an officer, all responsible for diligently spreading awareness to fellow students.

“Mainly, we’re advertising to our friends and having them advertise it,” Orozco said. “Recently, we’ve been getting a lot of DMs about people who are interested in joining and want more information, so that’s great.”

With plenty of student interest in Mock Trial, the only hurdle left for becoming an official club is to resolve miscommunication between staff and officers regarding fundraising. Funds are vital for the club to compete and travel, but school policy permits only bonafide, not student-led clubs to fundraise.

“We just want to be able to be a club and get to go to conferences,” Kumar said. “We can fundraise that money on our own. Our parents are willing to drive us and we’re willing to split the cost between our team.”

Aiming to reach bonification, a lengthy and elaborate process, by next year, the club will temporarily stick with the “student-led” title. Due to limitations, Bhandari plans to create a separate team not affiliated with the school consisting of six to ten members that will potentially participate in Dallas Bar Association competitions.

“We’re giving favor to the original members,” Orozco said. “[It’s] first come first serve, but if we do run into a conflict, we will definitely take members from the club to compete with us if they would like to.”

The team plans to meet on Saturdays outside of school, with business law teacher Mr. Benson as their coach. Club members who aren’t a part of the team will be shadowing them as preparation for next year’s team tryouts.

“Next year for the ten members, I want to do literal mock trials to see who we want to be on the team.” Bhandari said. “We want to call [it auditions] because doing Mock Trial is public speaking and theater combined.”

The PIT meetings in school will include slowly dissecting a case and hosting mini mock trials. The officers plan to allow students to pick their own roles, but also introduce simultaneous changes like switching their sides to broaden their horizons.

“During a real competition, you don’t know if you’re prosecution or defense; they tell you when you get there,” Bhandari said. “You really have to know both sides well and how you can cater the case towards you.”

To expose students to law curriculum and encourage the collaboration of ideas with each other, the officers highly encourage students who are considering law or liberal arts as a career choice or just seeking to improve their public speaking skills, to join Mock Trial.

“I think it’s going to  be a very fun experience,” Orozco said. “I’m most excited to win because we will win. We’ve already all become such good friends.”