New assistant Mock Trial coach Carl Bornmann and his wife Kelly take a picture at Grand Canyon National Park on vacation in Arizona. (Photo used by permission of Bornmann).

New Mock Trial assistant coach still adjusting to rules of competition after years as attorney

Carl Bornmann is the new assistant coach for the Mock Trial team. He has been practicing litigation law for over 20 years. He and his wife, Kelly, moved to Sacramento from New Jersey over the summer. Kelly Bornmann is the new sixth grade science teacher.

Q: Where did you work before coming to Sacramento?

A: I practiced law in both New York and New Jersey. I passed both the bar exams there.

I was in private practice both in New York and New Jersey for about 10 years. Then I became a Deputy Attorney General with the state of New Jersey, which is the position I had for the past eight years. I did primarily litigation. I was in two different sections – I represented the Department of Transportation and also the Department of Banking and Insurance.

Q: What did you do as a lawyer?

A: I was in the Attorney General’s office in the banking and insurance section, so I handled a lot of regulatory and licensing issues, (as well as) insurance fraud cases.  I represented the New Jersey real estate commission, which monitored and regulated licensed real estate brokers and agents. So I was involved with all phases of litigation.

Q: Where did you go to college?

A: I got my undergraduate degree at the University of Hartford in Connecticut, and I had a major in psychology and a minor in politics and government. And then I went to receive my J.D. – Juris Doctor degree – at the Fordham University (School) of Law, which was in Manhattan.

Q: Why did you move to California?

A: My wife, Kelly Bornmann, is the new sixth grade science teacher. Based on her new job, we decided to relocate to Sacramento.

Q: How long did you live in New Jersey?

A: I’ve lived in New Jersey about my whole life. (The move has) been a big change.

Q: How do you like Country Day?

A: So far so good. Everyone seems to be very nice and welcoming and supportive. And (my wife and I) are enjoying our time here.

Q: Have you taught before?

A: Not formally in front of a classroom. But, yes, I’ve taught my colleagues before. There have been times I have been a guest speaker (for) certain groups. I’ve been asked to be a mentor for younger attorneys. But I haven’t taught in a formal classroom environment.

Q: How is coaching  Mock Trial different from your overall experience with practicing law?

A: I’m still learning the rules (and the scoring system) of the (Mock Trial) competition.

One difference is that in the Attorney General’s office you have a client and you are representing them and nobody is keeping score. Everybody is interested in the outcome.

Whereas with Mock Trial, there’s a point system involved, and you score points for doing certain things, whether it’s (for) asking certain questions or introducing certain documents into evidence. So that’s (another) difference: the competition aspect.

The other (difference) is that (Mock Trial) is a lot more compact and concise. The time periods are very quick. In Mock Trial, you are trying (to do a) whole case from beginning to end, from the opening statement to the closing statement, in one day.

In the real world, trials generally take longer than that. Depending on the case, it can take several days to several weeks.

Q: Do you plan on changing anything about Mock Trial?

A: I can’t say (if) I’ll be making any changes.

Q: What do you do as an assistant coach for the Mock Trial team?

A: So far, I’ve been working with the student attorneys on the pre-trial part of the Mock Trial competition. I’ve been assisting them with the preparation of their arguments and reviewing relevant case law. Also, I’ve been working (with) other student attorneys on questioning expert witnesses and introducing exhibits into evidence.

By Arijit Trivedi

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