College Corner: Interview with Mock Trial’s Adam Dalva ’08

Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.

Adam Dalva ’08 is on a mission to revive the recently dormant Mock Trial club. We at the Daily Gazette have read our share of John Grisham, so we were naturally intrigued. I attended the first meeting of the newly revitalized club and afterwards sat down with the man who found it within himself to wear a suit all day to promote his club.

Daily Gazette: How long have you been involved in mock trials?

Adam Dalva: 5 years. I went to all the trials in 8th grade, was a witness freshman year, moved up to being a lawyer sophomore and junior years, and was head lawyer last year.

DG: So you started out as a mock trial groupie?

Adam: Yes. But we’re cooler than most groupies.

DG: What made you interested in mock trials in the first place? Were you always interested in the law?

Adam: I just walked into the meeting one day.

DG: Your advertising posters say “You know you want it”. How do you know that we want it?

Adam: It’s simple. Mock trial is the best activity in the world. It combines the formality of the legal system with fun. Unlike any other activity, it’s a true team effort. Other things tend to be more based around the individual, but in mock trial, if there’s even one weak spot, the whole team will do poorly. And mock trial is something that we can all connect to. We all know about the law and how it affects us.

DG: I understand that you recently secured funding for the mock trial club. How did you work this miracle?

Adam: I met with the Student Budget Committee and with Student Council, and they said that I probably couldn’t get funding until the spring semester. So I was planning on paying for everything out of my own pocket. But today, I met with Vice President Eldridge who was hopeful that some funding could be found for us, so I’m optimistic that we’ll eventually be funded.

DG: What are your ultimate goals for the mock trial club?

Adam: I want to win the national championship. Also, I want to teach people about the law, and of course have fun. We had way more people attend the meeting tonight than we have spots for on the competing team, so we’ll have both an A and a B team and I’ll be teaching classes for those who don’t have any experience with mock trials.

DG: What does the competing team do?

Adam: Go to three tournaments each year; the Penn tournament, the Columbia, and the Yale tournament, which is the biggest tournament in the country. We already have transportation and places to stay.

DG: That’s pretty impressive. And what will the beginner classes be like?

Adam: Just basic stuff. How to write an opening statement, how to present a case, how to write and present an affidavit as a witness. Everybody will get some trial experience at some point. We’ll probably do a trial each week at regular practice; the best way to get good at mock trials is to practice a lot.

DG: OK, here’s the big question: What would you prefer: A thriving Mock Trial club or yet another World Series win for that wretched baseball team of yours?

Adam: Well, we win every 4 years anyway, so I’d definitely choose a championship for the club. However, if I was a Red Sox fan, it would be a little different.

DG: I walked into that one.

Adam: Yeah you did.

Soundly defeated, this reporter slunk out of Mephistos. But I’ll be at the next training session, and maybe one day the apprentice will defeat the master.

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