BY ASIA THOMPSON
For the past two years since its founding, the Law and Justice club has expanded and is now called the Lightning Litigators. Senior and President Nicholas Pecanha said the idea for the club started with his love for mock trials during his sophomore year.
“I took a law class with Ms. Wuenker, and she introduced me to a mock trial; I instantly fell in love,” Pecanha said. “After my competitions, I wondered why there wasn’t a club or class that specifically focused on learning [about] mock trials and the various intricacies of the law, [so] I was able to get a real attorney to help me teach the class and now we have competed in many competitions in our second year of being a class and a club.”
The Lightning Litigators, which consists of about fourteen to fifteen members, is now preparing for an international preeminent high school mock trial competition called Empire on Nov. 12 to Nov. 16. Lawyer and coach of the club Lee Friedland said the main goal is to win a state championship for the school.
“Our team remains singularly focused on winning a state championship for Cypress Bay – but to do so we must compete against private schools with multiple lawyers assisting staff and active legal study programs,” Friedland said. “This requires dedication and passion – and with those two elements, our team enjoys incredible success.”
Empire holds events in New York, Chicago and San Fransico as well as has students participating all over the world. Last, the team practiced in the summer for three to four hours three times a week. Friedland said that due to Covid, the team this year is restricted to virtual courtrooms.
“Our team, through much distraction and challenges, stands on the precipice of competing in our first event – unfortunately this year we are limited to online courtrooms,” Friedland said.
The club is practicing through Zoom every day for the competition, and team members are also meeting in person as per social distancing rules as the dates draw near. Pecanha said members have a lot of dedication to the club and its practices.
“I am very confident in my peers and how much time and effort they put into our practices,” Pecanha said. “It is not an easy thing to do, and their dedication truly makes me happy and proud.”