Who’s That Kid? It’s Abdual Yousef, FCLC ’24


Abdual Yousef, FCLC ’24, watches as his Mock Trial team makes Fordham history. (Courtesy of Abdual Yousef)

Sebastian Diaz, Assistant News Editor

Abdual Yousef joined the Fordham Lincoln Center Mock Trial in the fall of 2020, his first year at Lincoln Center. However, Yousef has a notable history in law-based performance activities. Throughout high school, he participated in similar activities like Moot Court and the We The People program. Becoming a part of Fordham’s Mock Trial team seemed like the natural evolution of Yousef’s civic educational career. 

“Personally, I only started getting into Mock Trial this year, and I intend to do it the full four years. I really like it. It’s fun, even if you don’t have any interest in the law. Some people who do this activity don’t like [it]. It’s still something fun to do, and I’m honored to be a part of the team,” said Yousef. 

For the uninitiated, Mock Trial is a performance club team activity that combines elements of law practice and acting, putting the two concepts together for a comprehensive court-of-law simulation. 

Mock Trial teams are given a case during the fall semester of the school year. The club’s goal is to provide either a defensive or offensive argument against the case in question depending on whether the team is assigned to the defense or plaintiff role. The case is split up into three attorneys for each side and three witnesses. 

Mock Trial teams across the country compete in a hierarchy of tournaments, beginning with regionals at the first level, opening round championships series (or ORCS) at the second level and, finally, the national tournament. Throughout its 21-year history, Lincoln Center’s Mock Trial club team was unable to get both its A and B team a spot at the national tournament. 

“Fordham’s history of Mock Trial has not been a successful one. Both Rose Hill and Lincoln Center have, in the past, struggled a lot to even leave regionals. But over the past few years, our captains and e-board members have been showing the team more success. This year, at Lincoln Center, we did something historic for Fordham history and we got two teams, our A and B teams, into the national tournament. This has never been done before in our history of the event,” said Yousef. 

“Our school is one of only eight teams in the country to do that,” he continued. Forty-eight schools competed in the national championship. Unfortunately, neither the Fordham A or B team successfully placed at the competition. 

Throughout the fall semester, Yousef served as a key witness in the mock trial. However, as the competitions began, he was moved to a supportive role. As a timekeeper in the regional, ORCS and national competitions, Yousef played a key, non-competing supportive role by helping his teammates manage their speaking time and helping organize the temporal structure of their arguments. “The reason I do it, personally, is just because I love the law. I can’t see myself doing anything else but law or something law-related,” Yousef said. 

Yousef began to talk about all of the benefits and advantages that come with being on Mock Trial teams, such as scholarships and financial aid for distinguished competitors, but his love for the club really boils down to his passion and appreciation for his teammates. “It’s not even about the aid for me, it’s just something that I really want to do. It’s not only that the whole tournament and competing is amazing, but it’s also really fun because you’ve got a really great team that comes with it,” explained Yousef. 

Speaking about teammates, Yousef wanted to give a special shoutout to the head coach and the three senior leaders of the LC Mock Trial team. The head coach, Alyssa Pronley, is new to the team. Hired in the summer, Pronley’s main goal was to get two teams to nationals eventually; she accomplished this within her first year on the team. 

The team leaders, Elizabeth Weinman, FCLC ’21, Travis Knoppert, FCLC ’21 and Evan Donaldson, FCLC ’21, were all instrumental in helping the Fordham teams make it to nationals according to Yousef. 

“Fordham Mock would literally not be in the place it’s at without those three,” Yousef said.

As his time on the Mock Trial team progresses, Yousef plans on continuing as a competing teammate in upcoming events. However, he will have to wait until the team returns to the competitive scene in the upcoming Fall semester. 

Although he’s majoring in international studies and philosophy, Abdual Yousef plans to put his Mock Trial practice into real law practice as he plans on attending law school after his undergraduate studies.