Lincoln’s Mock Trial team advances to nationals undefeated


Don Bingham

Lincoln’s Mock Trial team after their win at the state competition in Salem. In May, the team heads to Little Rock, Arkansas to compete in the National High School Mock Trial Championship.

For the first time in five years, Lincoln’s Mock Trial team has won the Oregon State Classroom Law Mock Trial competition, and is preparing to face off against teams from around the country in the national championship.The competition will be held on May 18-20, in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Bram Barnes is a sophomore and youngest member on the team. This is his first year on Mock Trial, making the prospect of nationals somewhat intimidating. However, the added stress is remedied by a particularly interesting case. 

This year at nationals, the team will be arguing for both the prosecution and defense in a case involving a first degree murder charge.

“There’s a lot more to [the case]. There are more layers,” Barnes said. “The detail that they put into all the exhibits, and even just the writing itself is definitely more enjoyable.”

Junior Hildi Harrington has been on Mock Trial for three years. As the attorney that delivers the opening statement, her five minute speech is the jury’s first introduction to her team’s argument, so memorization and presentation are crucial.

“You’re the first person that anybody hears. The first person the jury hears, the judge, everyone. And so you really have to know your stuff,” Harrington said. “There’s also a time limit. You have five minutes for the opening and if you go over that looks really bad.”

The national case was released April 1, giving the team about six weeks to prepare. This makes memorization particularly challenging.

“We have a whole new case, which is kind of hard because instead of learning the case in six months, you’re learning it in six weeks,” Harrington said. “It’s a lot of work. It’s all condensed, so you have to move really fast. The materials are actually a lot longer too. The affidavits are probably twice the length and there’s three times the number of exhibits.” 

Lincoln faced many challenges in the competitions leading up to nationals, including being moved into a more competitive district and facing off against West Linn, one of the best teams in Oregon, in the final round of state. This made the eventual win even more exciting for Mock Trial attorney senior Kate Bingham.

“We ended up winning every round at regionals, which was really exciting,” Bingham said. “As our rounds just kept going, and we advanced to the final round at state it was completely shocking and really, really exciting.”

Although Bingham remains cautiously optimistic about possibly taking the national champion title back to Lincoln, she says the opportunity to travel and work together as a team is enough of a win for her.

“I think our team is really strong. And I think that even if we don’t do well at nationals, which I hope we do, but even if we don’t do well, we’re going to Little Rock together as a team,” Bingham said. “We’ll spend this next month practicing for it and there’ll be a lot of team bonding, so I’m really excited for that.”