Lessons Learned in Law

Mock Trial Seniors Lead Team to 4th Place Finish at Nationals


The Seattle Prep Mock Trial team following their victory at the state competition. Seniors led the team to fourth place finish in the national competition.

Maya Salazar, Staff Writer

From Elle Wood’s iconic speech from Legally Blonde, to students constructing cases together in How to Get Away With Murder, law is everywhere, and plays an important role not only in media, but also in real life. At Prep, the State Championship-winning Mock Trial team is filled with future lawyers, possible politicians, and even just young people who will always know how to construct a solid argument.

The seniors on the Mock Trial team play a crucial role as leaders on their team; whether they be lawyers arguing for their fictional client, or witnesses telling their stories. This year, the Seniors on the Mock Trial team led the team to a fourth place finish at the National Mock Trial Competition in Little Rock, Arkansas.

As these important members of the Mock Trial team get ready to graduate, they reflected on what they’ve learned from their experiences as lawyers and witnesses. “Both of my parents went to law school and have talked about the criminal justice system for as long as I can remember,” said senior attorney Jessica McDowall, ’23, “I liked how much [Mock Trial] helped my writing, public speaking, flexibility, and ability to take constructive criticism.” McDowall has been a member of the team since her freshman year, and she has found it to have expanded her social circle as well as her mind.

Mock Trial has played an integral role in developing current Seniors into who they are now, as well as developing aspirations for their futures outside of Prep. As an extracurricular, Mock Trial tends to draw those at Prep who are intrigued by law and the criminal justice system.

McDowall said, “I may potentially decide to pursue a career in law, but even if I don’t choose that, I’ll be an informed citizen who understands the criminal justice system.” Mock Trial is an outlet for students like McDowall, who are eager to understand law and may even venture to become a lawyer in their future educational endeavors.

Although it can be time-consuming and involves lots of hard work for the perfect argument, Mock Trial has been a place where many seniors graduating this year have found their closest friends and a tight-knit support system that, even if they don’t attend college together, they will carry with them into their university years. “It’s brought me some of my closest friends,” said McDowall.

While the relationships built in Mock Trial are formed through hard work, it pays off in more than just one way. Prep’s Mock Trial team has won the Washington State Championship over 15 times, and have gone to Nationals 10 times. It is clear that the each student’s dedication to the subject forms not only a warm, close community, but also a successful team with more awards under their belt than can be counted on fingers.

This year’s exciting Nationals case was about Scout Cumberland and Riley Truman, and how their friendship and working partnership turned into one of betrayal, lawsuits, fights over diamonds, and the eventual murder of Cumberland. The real question the team is asking is: who did it? Mock Trial has left a lasting impression of camaraderie, hard work, and a more open mind for the seniors that have spent time on the team. “I’ll always remember the importance of teamwork, dedication, and adaptability,” said McDowall.