Last weekend, two mock trial teams from Waukesha South competed in the Mock Trial regional competition–going up against seven other teams from Arrowhead, Brookfield Central, and Brookfield Academy. South’s A team placed 1st, and will be the only team from the regional advancing to the state competition on March 6 and 7.

For those of you who don’t know, mock trial is a national high school competition in which students prepare for and present a legal case–essentially, it’s a simulated courtroom trial. Each team has approximately 7-12 students who are either attorneys, who argue the case, or witnesses, who testify in front of the judges.

This year’s case was a criminal one–a whodunit mystery featuring a wealthy but aloof defendant (the person on trial), who allegedly killed their twin sibling. Each team must be able to argue for the prosecution (the side that’s doing the accusing) and the defense (the side being accused). If you want to learn more about the case, you can find the case materials here.

The regional competition–which occurred over Zoom this year–had four rounds, two on Saturday and two on Sunday. South’s A team argued 2 prosecution rounds and 2 defense rounds. They went 4-0, winning all rounds and receiving a total score of 758 out of 800 points. South’s B team also argued 2 prosecution and 2 defense rounds, going 2-2 with a total score of 658 out of 800 points.

This regional was one of ten in Wisconsin, each determining one of ten teams that will be advancing to the state tournament. The other schools that will be at state this year are Madison West, Beaver Dam, Xavier, Whitefish Bay, Rhinelander, Shorewood, River Falls, Brookfield Central, and Superior.

Three members of Team A, left to right: Siya Verma, Shala Pacheco, Genevieve Lambert

About her time on the team, Captain and mock attorney Margaret Mueller said,

“I’m so glad I joined mock trial 3 years ago, and am proud to say that after all the effort we put in we won this year's regional competition. Mock trial has been so important to my high school experience, and it’s what made me realize I want to go to law school.”

Co-Captain Shala Pacheco, who is also an attorney on the team, added,

“The moment my team found out we were advancing to state was the most excited I’ve ever been in my life. Thinking about how far the mock trial program has come since I started my sophomore year makes me insanely proud! It’s been such a fun and rewarding experience that I’ll miss lots once the season is over.”

Junior Mika Liss, who portrayed the defendant, commented:

"My primary goal this year was to make as enjoyable of a last year's experience to my senior teammates–most of whom I've been working with for the past three years–and I am very proud and thankful for all of my teammates who have allowed us and them one last chance at a fun experience."

The members of team A are attorneys Margaret Mueller, Shala Pacheco, Ava Savelkoul, and witnesses Genevieve Lambert, Mika Liss, Erin Loeschmann, Reed Mueller, Delaney Premeau, and Siya Verma. As they prepare for state, they do so with the intention to go all the way to nationals, which is being held this May in Evansville, Indiana.

If you are interested in joining the Mock Trial team for the 2022 school year, feel free to contact Coach Mueller at Elisabeth.Mueller@da.wi.gov!