High school students enjoy intro to law
Nearly two dozen gifted high school students from across Arizona recently spent three days at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law learning about jury trials and careers in the law and finessing their ability to argue.
From July 6-8, the students attended a workshop, “Jury Trial Advocacy: Perspectives on Legal Persuasion,” which is part of the Arizona State University Summer Enrichment Program, sponsored by The Collegiate Scholars Program. The session enabled them to become more comfortable with the world of law and to practice what they learned in a mock-trial atmosphere.
The workshop was taught by Jimmy Cool, a 2010 graduate of the College of Law and head coach of the ASU Mock Trial Team, and Lauren Davis, an ASU sophomore and mock trial team member.
“This has been a positive advocacy experience for them, getting them on their feet, and learning to work with facts,” Cool said. “Mock trial is beneficial for kids because it helps them develop three critical skills – it teaches them about working in teams, to be better analytical thinkers, and it teaches them a little about public speaking, which builds confidence.”
Using a pretend incident of vehicular homicide, the students prepared their cases and took turns acting as prosecution and defense attorneys, witnesses and jurors. Sumeet Patwardhan, a sophomore at Corona del Sol High School in Tempe, said the workshop was an interesting introduction to trial law and the legal system.
“I’m a big advocate of justice, the search for truth, and doing what you think is right,” said Sumeet, who wants to start a mock trial club at his school and plans to be a prosecutor someday. “The best part of this today was getting to perform the trial.”
Katrina Villaponds, a junior at Ironwood High in Glendale, complimented Cool on his teaching style, and said she would recommend the Collegiate Scholars Program to anyone. She plans to attend ASU, and would be the first attorney in her family.
“People say I’m argumentative, so I feel I could be a good lawyer,” she said.
Janie Magruder, Jane.Magruder@asu.edu
Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law