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Sarah Einowski Helps Students Thrive Through Mock Trial Program
At Portland’s Jefferson High School, Tonkon Torp litigator Sarah Einowski is helping underserved students gain confidence and civic skills through the Mock Trial program of the Classroom Law Project.
Sarah was first introduced to the Classroom Law Project in 2013 through her membership in the Owen M. Panner American Inn of Court, which sponsors Jefferson’s Mock Trial team. Sarah was encouraged to focus on Mock Trial as a way to gain valuable insight into her own courtroom style while introducing students to trial procedure.
When Sarah started at Jefferson, there were more coaches than students. Through dedicated efforts to build the school’s program, there are now 17 students on two teams. Sarah is one of four head coaches who run the program and coach alongside five other dedicated coaches. Each spring, before the Regional Mock Trial Competition, Sarah and her fellow coaches take the students to the Oregon coast for a working weekend of running through trials and honing objections. The trip allows the coaches and students to bond, and it exposes the students to a new environment since many have never seen the Oregon coast.
The ultimate goal for the Classroom Law Project is not to increase law school admissions, but to see kids learn how to work through problems and grow in confidence in their ability to stand up in front of people and think on their feet. During her time with the Jefferson teams, Sarah has witnessed many students evolve from deep shyness to making rapid fire objections to the judge.
Since Jefferson students can only meet weekly with their Mock Trial coaches, they compete at a disadvantage against schools that offer Mock Trial as a class. However, that didn’t stop these talented kids from placing in the 2016 Regional Mock Trial Competition in February to advance on to the State Mock Trial Competition held on March 11-12. This marks the first time the school has gone to state-level competition in the 10+ years it has had a team. Sarah and her fellow coaches are very proud of the students for this major accomplishment.