Ipswich High Mock Trial team pays visit to Supreme Court

Issue May 2005

The Ipswich High Mock Trial team gathers on the steps of the United States Supreme Court. Pictured (from left) are (front row) coach and attorney Thomas R. Murphy, Emily Bailey, Tany Horgan, Sadie Soliozy and Harrison Sagris; (middle row) Axel Ringwood, Hillary Nardone, Eva Piras, Evie Fowler and Jon Loeb; and (back row) Kaleigh Knudsen, Becca Fanning, April Hoffman, Maya Cavallaro and Henry Clay.

They may not have made it to the finals, but the Ipswich High School Mock Trial Program team this year went national.

Mock Trial Program coach and attorney Thomas R. Murphy took his team of 14 students to Washington, D.C., in March to celebrate their hard work. In addition to paying a visit to the United States Supreme Court, the high school students, Murphy and chaperones visited Capitol Hill and many other historic buildings and museums.

"Every year at the end of the tournament, I take the team out to do something special," said Murphy, a civil trial lawyer with Giarrusso, Norton, Cooley & McGlone, PC, of Quincy.

"The first year, Chinese food was on me," Murphy said. "Then as the years went by it got to be bigger. I'd take them to courthouses in Boston, to the finals at Faneuil Hall, and one year we went to the SJC. (Then) I decided that we should go to the Supreme Court."

For several years, Murphy has volunteered as a coach for the MBA's Mock Trial Program.

Murphy planned out the trip, which entailed a train ride on Amtrak's Acela. During the three-night, four-day trip, they also stopped in to visit with representatives from Congressman John F. Tierney's office and saw the Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, botanical gardens and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. They concluded the trip with a dinner in Georgetown before taking the train home.

Some of the students were not able to afford the trip on their own. But, due to the help of some area lawyers, Murphy was able to raise about $5,000 toward the cost of the trip.

"There are some kids that need a little help, so I reached out to some of the local businesses, banks and law firms," Murphy said. "I didn't get that much support so I wrote to a number of friends in the civil trial bar and was able to raise $5,000 from major leaders in the bar: Pat Jones, Paul Leavis, Brian Dever, Rick Heifetz, Owen Todd and a number of other civil trial lawyers who together donated $5,000."

So while the Ipswich High Mock Trial team did not see much success in the competition (having not made it past the preliminary rounds), the trip was a big triumph - and gave the students a boost of energy for next year's program.

"We will live to another fight," Murphy said. "The competition is not over and they are excited about this for next year."