The Legal Lions take on Yale University… Virtually!

The Mock Trial team prepares to participate in an invitational competition organized by Yale University

Every year more than 600 Mock Trial teams nationwide prepare and practice with the hope of winning the national title. With more than nine years of experience, PCA’s Mock Trial team, the Legal Lions, embarks on a new avenue of practicing in both structure and content.

Typically, the Legal Lions are presented with the statewide case by the Dallas Bar Association in October and prepare arguments for both defense and prosecution. However, this year, they are jumping right into their season after having received Yale University’s Bulldog Invitational case in July.

“We are beginning the year with a criminal case. After a valuable sculpture is stolen from a museum, the museum’s head of security is charged with conspiracy and theft,” said Mock Trial Coach Mrs. Kimberly Stidham.

The Legal Lions Captain, Senior Ashley Pelham, said, “Since we have so many new members, the other experienced Mock Trial members and I are working on showing them the ropes and exposing them to all of Mock Trial’s intricacies.”

Though the Legal Lions are undergoing a very stressful, fast-paced preparation for the Yale Competition in October, they are excited to have the opportunity to compete this season. This competition is going to look a little bit different given the concerns of Covid-19. In fact, the Legal Lions will be competing virtually.

The Legal Lions have been participating in scrimmages to better prepare for their upcoming competition. Junior Ronia Christopher, who has been a part of Mock Trial for two years, said, “We recently had a scrimmage against another Dallas-area school. It was difficult trying to work with the virtual parameters.”

These parameters prove to be harder to work around, even more so for those who have participated in Mock Trial before this virtual competition. To ensure the strength of their team, Ashley said, “We have been preparing our witnesses and making sure our arguments are crystal clear for competition.”

The Legal Lions have some challenges ahead regarding the adjustment to competing virtually on Zoom instead of in the courtroom, but they are excited to have the opportunity to compete this season nonetheless.

The Mock Trial team continually places in the Top Ten at the Texas High School Mock Trial Competition. The team consists of: Senior Ashley Pelham (captain, attorney); Junior Callie Brady (co-captain, attorney); Senior Jack Dunnigan (attorney); Junior Cole Rumsey (attorney); Sophomore Leila Finn (attorney, witness); Freshman Austin McCleod (attorney); Junior Jannan Jeihani (witness); Junior Ronia Christopher (witness); Junior Carlye Nesseth (witness); Sophomore Cesar Suarez (witness); Freshman Asa Miller (witness).