Mock trial will take place at BC for the first time

AK Pachla, Copy Editor

The mock trial is a familiar law school tradition, and with Bakersfield College’s addition of a prelaw curriculum, it seems fair to hold one here. On Jan. 29, SGA Director of Student Organizations Chad Hidalgo opened the boardroom to sign up interested students.
There are 23 other California community colleges offering the prelaw career pathway, and Hidalgo hopes to one day host regional mock trial events at BC. “Mock trial is, like, a huge thing,” he says, “but I’ve never done it, so I’m learning along the way.”
The mock trial is set to take place on March 3, and Hidalgo says so far, response has been good, given limited publicity. Dean of Instruction Manny Mourtzanos sent an email to all BC prelaw students on Thursday, and on Friday Hidalgo said, “Right now, I’ve got a half dozen or so folks that are interested and asking questions.”
One such student is political science major Monica Garcia. She was one of the students who received Mourtzanos’ email.
Garcia’s goal is to become an attorney, and she hopes to gain public speaking experience by participating in the mock trial, as well as get a general feeling for the courtroom atmosphere. When asked if she hoped to be a prosecutor or defender, Garcia quipped, “That’s a tough one… depending on what they did.”
Hidalgo points out, however, that participation in the mock trial isn’t exlusive to political science and prelaw students.
“My aim with even setting up mock trial and debate is to start students across the board… with working on critical thinking skills,” he said.
He also believes the experience can help the more reserved students bring out their personalities in the classroom more. “I’ve noticed [students] who are oysters in a class, as soon as they get out of that class, they’ve got huge opinions. Now transfer that into the classroom.”
Students who would like more information about the mock trial and how they can sign up to participate may contact Hidalgo by sending an email to [email protected].