Real-life attorneys are busy preparing students for the Educational Service Center of Lorain County’s annual mock trial Dec. 15.
Joseph Falbo spoke in November with sixth-graders at Amherst’s Nord Middle School and Cheryl Lukacs met with sixth-graders at Langston Middle School in Oberlin.
Students in grades five through eight across Lorain County will be actors in a simulated courtroom trial at the Lorain County Justice Center, playing lawyers, witnesses, jurors, and bailiffs in an attempt to win their cases.
Amherst teacher Jami Sexton will have two classes at the event in cases called “Nothing But The Truth” and “True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle.” Oberlin teacher Eileen Hickerson’s students are defendants in “Nothing But The Truth.”
Lukacs has been a lawyer for 25 years. She said her job is to be a storyteller, listening to her clients and crafting a narrative for the court.
“A court case is like an essay,” she said — you start with a thesis, explain it, and finally summarize it.
The veteran attorney told Amherst sixth-graders it’s important to show evidence that supports your facts. Evidence can range from documents to testimony to physical objects.
“It’s my job to assist the court in finding the truth,” Lukacs said.
She encouraged students playing roles to be very loud and confident. “Be as big as you can be,” she prompted them. “You’re going to be in an actual courtroom.”
Lukacs encouraged anyone playing a witness to fully understand and remember their statements.
“Credibility is everything in a trial,” Lukacs said. As soon as someone says one lie everyone in the courtroom will question everything they say after that.”
Falbo is an Amherst graduate and has been an attorney for seven years. He works with Lorain County Court of Common Pleas judge Christopher Rothgery.
“I enjoy what I do because we have a direct impact on the community,” Falbo said. “It’s a rewarding job. I think it’s a very noble profession.”
Sexton’s class had many questions for Falbo about being an attorney and what he has experienced.
Falbo told the students only about one percent of cases actually go to trial and the hardest are those involving children.
Valerie Urbanik can be reached at 440-775-1611 or on Twitter @ValUrbanik.
Photos by Valerie Urbanik | Civitas Media
Attorney Joseph Falbo talks to sixth-graders about the benefits of being in his field.