Students Participate in Virtual Mock Trial Auditions


Photo Courtesy of Meredith Buhalis

The CHS Mock Trial Team poses in the Washtenaw County Courthouse after their 2020 Washtenaw Regionals Competition. Both the CHS teams won Regionals that year and were slated to compete at the state competition, but COVID-19 resulted in the tournament’s cancellation.

On a November evening during Charles Solomon’s sophomore year at CHS, he stood on the third floor ledge pacing back and forth in front of the high windows. He was with Geneve Thomas-Palmer, another CHS sophomore, and they were both anxiously awaiting their auditions for the CHS Mock Trial team. 

Now, both are seniors, and yesterday marked the end of their final set of auditions.

On Dec. 1 and 2, CHS Mock Trial held their 2020-21 team auditions over zoom. The audition panel was composed of five coaches and two returning team captains. Auditions were held in the evenings, with prospective team members signing up for time slots beginning at 5 P.M.

The audition process is split up into two parts: performance and commitment. During the performance portion, those auditioning for witnesses are questioned and those auditioning for lawyers do case analysis. The second half of the audition focuses on dedication, with the coaches asking about the students’ interest and commitment to Mock Trial and their preferred roles on the team. 

Normally, auditions are held in Chloe Root’s room on the third floor of CHS. Before auditioning, students wait on the third floor ledge, pacing and talking nervously. When they emerge from the room, audition complete, they are congratulated by the rest of the team waiting outside.

“The ledge is a very important space for Mock Trial,” Thomas-Palmer said. “We’re usually the only people in the school, and it’s a really unique atmosphere.”

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, auditions, practices, and competitions are all being held online this year. Although the team is still able to practice, the shift to a virtual format has meant giving up some of their beloved traditions — such as practicing on the third floor ledge.

“Last week, I was on an auditions practice zoom and everyone was talking in the chat and saying ‘I really miss the ledge,’” Thomas-Palmer said. “The ledge is a really integral part of the audition experience.”