It seemed awfully real to the students participating in Huntington High School’s business department moot court cases late in the school year.
The teenagers were enrolled in Business Law and Personal Law 2 courses. The moot court experience saw them pressing their cases in a second floor high school classroom with the zest of third year law school students.
“Eleven cases were heard over the course of four days by volunteer judges from as close as our administrative offices to as far as the Suffolk County court system,” business teacher Suzie Biagi said.
The judicial corps included Principal Brenden Cusack, Assistant Principal Joseph DiTroia, business teacher Paige Tyree, business class intern Abigail Bellistri and attorneys Stephanie Giancristofaro, Jack Piana, Oliver Rouche and Kathleen Evers.
“The cases ranged from simple slip and fall to intentional assault and battery lawsuits, trespass, breach of contract, negligence and even a storekeeper’s dog biting a young customer,” Mrs. Biagi said. “Our law students worked together on teams pulled from a hat and had a week to develop and prepare for their cases. After units covering contracts, torts, negligence and court procedures the students applied their learning to the real life courtroom drama; some so good you might have thought you were on the set of ‘Law and Order.’”
There was plenty for participants to absorb during the weeklong initiative. “It was an interesting learning experience in a real life situation,” junior Colby Martin said. “I really got into it and loved cross examining people and making sound objections.”
Students looked forward to matching wits in the mock courtroom. “I’ve done this two years in a row now and it was just as much fun,” senior Jaelan Schweizer said. “I took what I learned last year and applied it to this year. In both cases I was a lawyer. Last year I was the defense attorney and this year was the plaintiff’s attorney. It was intriguing seeing both sides.”
For many of the students, this marked the first time they were participating in a courtroom exercise. “It was new, exciting and I loved working on teams,” sophomore Luke Luckow said. “I was the defendant and I learned a lot about court and all the procedures. I would definitely do it again. I’m even thinking about joining the mock trial team next year if I can fit it in with football and lacrosse.”
Looking ahead to the 2017/18 school year, Huntington High School business students can expect moot court to be called into session again.
“Our spring moot court sessions are such rewarding experiences for all,” Mrs. Biagi said. “It’s exciting watching the students apply all their newly learned legal skills acquired during their law classes. I’m proud of every single one of them.”