“Three-peat” in Chicago is usually associated with Michael Jordan’s Bulls, but Lake View has its own three-peat candidate in LVHS’s law student mock trial team. The team has been a winner in the citywide competition the last two years, beating out more than two dozen schools in both team and individual competitions.
“There are three rounds of competition, where up to thirty schools face off against each other” says Toney Vast-Binder, who has been teaching law at LVHS for a decade. “It’s a tough competition, and students really have to know their law and think on their feet. That’s where our kids perform best.” The competition is held in a circuit court courtroom, and presided over by a county judge. In addition to their classroom preparation, students worked with a Sidley and Austin mentor in the classroom, rehearsing during the schooldays and on weekends.
“The best part has been collaborating with the team of five attorneys and five witnesses – we built families in those” says LVHS graduate Jazzmine, who is attending Missouri as a pre-law student in 2014, and intends to get her graduate degree in law as well. Planning for a three-peat is an academic and pschychological exercise, says Vast-Binder, who seems to channel Phil Jackson for his prep. “Practice is key, but pride and a sense of accountability are critical as well” says Vast-Binder. “Each year, the team touches the trophy from the year before, and our graduates write letters to the new team members telling them to bring home the gold. You can feel the tradition in this team.”