Pictured above: Claire Gutekunst, president of the New York State Bar Association (C), with attorney coach Allan Hyman (l) partner at Certilman Balin Adler & Hyman and faculty coach Paul Henning (r) and the 2017 W. Tresper Clarke High School Mock Trial New York State Championship Team.
East Meadow, NY Coached by Certilman Balin Adler & Hyman, LLP’s senior partner Allan Hyman (resident of Sands Point), and Clarke High School’s faculty coach, Paul Henning, W. Tresper Clarke High School defeated Manhattan’s Regis High School in the finals competition at the New York State Bar Association’s annual statewide mock trial tournament in Albany, which took place on May 22 and May 23. Over 500 New York high schools, divided into seven regions, participated in the mock trial competition where local trials began in February and culminated in the final tournament in Albany. According to Hyman, who has been coaching W. Tresper Clarke’s mock trial team for the past 18 years, “Our team won because they are a group of hard-working, talented and highly motivated students who were willing to put in the time preparing the case for the mock trials.” The team began practicing in January, meeting after school hours and Saturdays. Before getting to Albany for the finals the Clarke mock trial team had to compete in the seven rounds of competition including the Nassau County championship round which they won by defeating Wheatley High School.
The mock trial teams participate in actual trial enactments. There are three lawyers and three witnesses on each team. They learn trial techniques which include opening, closing, direct, cross examination, the rules of evidence, and the use of objections.
The New York State Bar Association Mock Trial Tournament has been in existence for more than 20 years. Each year, the statewide competition involves either a civil or criminal case. This year, it was a civil action for malicious prosecution. The mythical case, Robin Berkman v. County of Dover , was about a young person who, after being convicted of the crime of robbery and attempted murder, was exonerated on the ground of actual innocence , and released after three years of incarceration in prison when the actual perpetrator came forward and confessed to the crime. The Honorable Mae D’Agostino, Judge of the United States District Court in Albany, presided over the final round of the State mock trial tournament.
Hyman’s team received certificates from the New York State Bar Association and the Nassau County Bar Association’s Marcus Christ trophy from the Nassau County Bar Association which was awarded to W. Tresper Clarke High School as the Nassau County winner. The trophy will remain with Clarke Highs School for one year until next year’s high school wins the Nassau County competition. This is the second state championship for W. Tresper Clarke, as the high school was victorious in 2003.
Allan Hyman practices in the firm’s litigation, real estate tax certiorari and condemnation law departments at Certilman Balin. He is also an adjunct Professor of Law at the Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University, and has been teaching a course in Real Estate Law for the past 10 years.