I decided to try out for our schools trial association. It is an oganization that competes around the nation in litigation. In order to be accepted, I had to watch a trial and prepare a closing argument. I then had to present it to a panel of real-life judges and lawyers.
It was awesome.
It was a criminal trial and I was the side of defense. My theory was self-defense. I was kind of nervous to get up there in front of these professional legal folks, but since I have a background of being dramatic, it was a lot of fun. I used all the “evidence” that was there and pointed to diagrams and all that Law and Order crap. And didn’t even use my notes. Another girl went first to present the state’s side.
After the arguments we went outside and waited for the panel to “deliberate.” They then called us back in and critiqued our arguments:
First judge: told me the argument was the best he had seen in three years since he had been participating
Second judge: asked me what my retainer was because he wanted to hire me as a defense attorney in case he ever got into trouble
Third panel member (lawyer): said I completely won him over
WOO HOO! Now THAT felt good =) I will hear back on Wednesday if I made it or not.
Pointers if anyone else out there is doing the same:
1. dont memorize your argument word for word, instead read it over and over again, and memorize only key phrases. Also, split it up into easy-to-remember sections. That will help trigger your memory.
2. Use all the props and diagrams the school makes available. Pick them up and make sure the panel can see what you are doing.
3. walk around in front of the podium – don’t be stationary.
4. Pause in your speaking to get points accross, use eye contact, move with a purpose, and use voice fluctuation to emphasize key points.
5. Tell a story with your argument – don’t spurt out a bunch of legal jargon. Make it personal for the “jury”
6. Be engaging and passionate, and…
7. HAVE FUN!