FLC Alum Returns to Coach Mock Trial

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Staff Photographer Alisha Lou

Angella Middleton, Franklin Learning Center class of 2002 and former mock trial team member, is back at her alma mater as coach of the team she used to compete with.  

Angella Middleton, Franklin Learning Center class of 2002 and former mock trial team member, is back at her alma mater as coach of the team she used to compete with.  

While she attended FLC, Middleton had some interest in becoming a lawyer but remained unsure until joining the school’s first mock trial team in January of her freshman year.

“I think I was interested in being a lawyer,” she says, “but very quickly that became my focus after I joined the mock trial team. I stuck with it throughout my four years.”

After FLC, Middleton went on to graduate from the University of Pennsylvania and then from Rutgers University School of Law. Today, she works as an attorney for the law firm Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr, LLP. In her work as a lawyer, she collaborates with the rest of her firm to pour over the facts of cases, prep witnesses, and strategize for competition: all qualities that make her an excellent coach.

In the mock trial club, Middleton helps students learn to be a part of the court system by reviewing and practicing the roles involved in the legal process. Their goal is to become familiar with the actual experience and broaden their knowledge on rules or norms pertaining to the courtroom. This includes how to use evidence, the range of objections that lawyers can practice, and even the questions permitted to ask speakers.

At the beginning of the year, the team was given a case to read over and roles were assigned for either prosecution or defense. While club adviser and History teacher Louis Fantini guides members through preparations, the presence of an additional coach in Middleton has helped to bring the club to where they are currently.

“I give the students now a lot of credit,” she admits; “just understanding the facts of the case takes so much more work now than it used to. There’s a lot at stake.”

As for the character of the club, Middleton shares that this year’s members “are a fun bunch.” Coaching the team pointed out to her a reflection of the same passion that can be recognized in lawyers. “It’s nice to see that fire of competition in students when they really, really have learned a lot and are excited to put that to use.”

Being that it was the reason she pursued her own career, Middleton recommends that students should give mock trial a chance. Whether they have any interest or not, being a part of the team will teach students skills like public speaking and analytical thinking–skills that will help them in any area they hope to explore. “It’s one of the only programs I know of that you actually get to do the work a lawyer does.”

From her first experience with mock trial as a new student at FLC to her return as a qualified and driven coach, Angella Middleton has become a force in the Philadelphia mock trial community.

“It’s so rewarding to see the progress of the students from the first day when they don’t know anything until when we get to competition. Not only have they learned a lot, but they’re actually passionate about the competition.”

While she attended FLC, Middleton had some interest in becoming a lawyer but remained unsure until joining the school’s first mock trial team in January of her freshman year.

“I think I was interested in being a lawyer,” she says, “but very quickly that became my focus after I joined the mock trial team. I stuck with it throughout my four years.”

After FLC, Middleton went on to graduate from the University of Pennsylvania and then from Rutgers University School of Law. Today, she works as an attorney for the law firm Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr, LLP. In her work as a lawyer, she collaborates with the rest of her firm to pour over the facts of cases, prep witnesses, and strategize for competition: all qualities that make her an excellent coach.

In the mock trial club, Middleton helps students learn to be a part of the court system by reviewing and practicing the roles involved in the legal process. Their goal is to become familiar with the actual experience and broaden their knowledge on rules or norms pertaining to the courtroom. This includes how to use evidence, the range of objections that lawyers can practice, and even the questions permitted to ask speakers.

At the beginning of the year, the team was given a case to read over and roles were assigned for either prosecution or defense. While club adviser and History teacher Louis Fantini guides members through preparations, the presence of an additional coach in Middleton has helped to bring the club to where they are currently.

“I give the students now a lot of credit,” she admits; “just understanding the facts of the case takes so much more work now than it used to. There’s a lot at stake.”

As for the character of the club, Middleton shares that this year’s members “are a fun bunch.” Coaching the team pointed out to her a reflection of the same passion that can be recognized in lawyers. “It’s nice to see that fire of competition in students when they really, really have learned a lot and are excited to put that to use.”

Being that it was the reason she pursued her own career, Middleton recommends that students should give mock trial a chance. Whether they have any interest or not, being a part of the team will teach students skills like public speaking and analytical thinking–skills that will help them in any area they hope to explore. “It’s one of the only programs I know of that you actually get to do the work a lawyer does.”

From her first experience with mock trial as a new student at FLC to her return as a qualified and driven coach, Angella Middleton has become a force in the Philadelphia mock trial community.

“It’s so rewarding to see the progress of the students from the first day when they don’t know anything until when we get to competition. Not only have they learned a lot, but they’re actually passionate about the competition.”

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