Pre-Law Magnet Students Experience Mock Trial at Chapman University

Mock Trial session held at the Chapman University Law School
Mock Trial session held at the Chapman University Law School

By Eric Stroupe, Vice Principal

JSerra’s Pre-Law Professional Magnet Program students traveled to Chapman Law School to participate in a mock trial.  Chapman Law School generously donated the use of their mock trial courtroom at the university.

Several legal professionals volunteered their time to show the students what a real jury trial looked like from beginning to end.  The volunteer participants included a retired superior court commissioner, a San Diego deputy district attorney, a San Diego alternate public defender, a superior court bailiff, an Anaheim police officer, and an Anaheim assistant city attorney.   Lastly, our very own senior Monika Patel played the role of the defendant who allegedly stole a plush toy from Disneyland.  Imagine, someone stealing from the Mouse.

JSerra law magnet students played the role of prospective jurors who heard the case.  The trial included jury selection, opening statements, direct and cross examination for both the prosecution and defense cases, jury deliberations and the final verdict.  Jury deliberations were quite spirited and could be heard through the jury deliberation room door.

This seminar is a prelude to the Spring semester mock trial competition the students will train for and participate in during April and May.  During the Spring competition, law magnet prosecution and defense teams will go head to head against each other during their own mock trial.  Instead of watching the key players conduct the trial, they will be playing the roles of the key players.  There will be four trials with the students being able to play multiple roles.  It promises to be challenging, interesting and great fun.

JSerra Catholic High School Announces New Pre-Law Professional Magnet Program

Patrick Ahle, Former Prosecutor and JSerra Pre-Law Professional Magnet Program Advisor

*A press release from  JSerra Catholic High School  

July 5, 2012—(San Juan Capistrano, CA)—JSerra Catholic High School announces the launch of the Pre-Law Professional Magnet Program (PLPMP), the third of its kind at JSerra.

The addition of the schools third Magnet Program comes after the success of the rigorous Business and Pre-Medical Magnet Programs.

JSerra’s law-specific courses will be taught by a Chapman Law School adjunct professor, Patrick Ahle, who has over 20 years of experience as a prosecutor and has also served as a volunteer judge pro tem.

“Students completing the key law courses offered by the Law Magnet Program will be better prepared prior to their arrival at their law school of choice,” said Patrick Ahle, former prosecutor and JSerra PLPMP advisor.

“The first year of law school is considered one of the most difficult graduate school years. Completing the pre-law program in high school will assist the students in their transition from undergraduate to graduate school. Being better prepared will give them a tremendous advantage over other incoming law school students,” said Ahle.

Students enrolled in the Law Magnet will be required to take courses in criminal law, contract law, trial advocacy, leadership, honors English, and constitutional law. Students will also participate in speech and debate.

Chapman Law School has also generously made available their Mock Court facilities to allow JSerra’s PLPMP students an authentic litigation experience. Additionally, Dr. John Eastman, the Henry Salvatori Professor of Law and Community Service and former Dean of Chapman Law School, will serve as a faculty advisor for the program.

“With the addition of the Pre-Law Magnet Program we hope to better prepare our students for a career in law. Under the direction of two successful attorneys both will bring an experienced hand to help guide the students in the program, bringing a real-world opportunity directly to the students,” said JSerra Vice Principal, Eric Stroupe.

An informational meeting is set to be held Thursday, July 12 at 6 p.m. in the JSerra Center Room.

About the Law Magnet Program

The mission of the Pre-Law Magnet Program is the development of analytical and critical thinking skills, along with an understanding of the ethical role lawyers play in society. The program will provide students with an instructional curriculum and practicum to allow each student to apply their knowledge in a hands-on platform. The program will incorporate the core values of JSerra including faith, integrity, pursuit of excellence, and a commitment to service.

About JSerra Catholic High School
Just nine years old, JSerra Catholic High School has grown into one of the region’s top university preparatory institutions. Its graduates include National Merit Scholarship winners, Ivy League university students, Division I collegiate athletes and young adults committed to being a positive force in their communities. Located in San Juan Capistrano, the school features $110-million facilities, including a state-of-the-art $40 million athletic complex. For more, visit