About Mock Trial
Open to all public and private high school students in
Massachusetts, the Mock Trial Program is a rich curriculum that
promotes the development of fundamental knowledge, sound judgment
and critical thinking skills.
Students are placed in a simulated courtroom situation where
they assume the roles of lawyers and witnesses in a hypothetical
case. The case is developed by volunteers who choose topics that
are relevant to the lives of young people. Topics have included
weapons in school, date rape, social-host liability, and first
amendment rights and the use of the Internet.
The Mock Trial Program helps students to make sense of the law
by engaging them in a complex problem solving exercise. Students
hone oral presentation skills and learn to look at issues from all
angles. In an era where Americans are bombarded by images and legal
jargon, strong analytical skills help inform decision-making and
encourage responsible citizenship.
The 2006 Mock Trial Tournament began in January 2006 with more
than 2000 students competing, representing 115 schools from across
Massachusetts. In all, 262 trials were held at 50 trial venues. A
total of 118 volunteers, all of them attorneys or judges, presided
over the trials. The winner of last year's competition was the
Boston Latin School. Visit Mock Trial Central for
information on this year's competition and the long history of this
important program. The 2007 Tournament begins at the end of January
with over 115 schools participating. Schools will be divided into
16 geographic regions and will compete in three preliminary rounds,
alternating between prosecution and defense. The team with
the greatest percentage of wins in each region will advance to the
championship "sweet sixteen" rounds. The State Finals will be
held on Thursday, March 29, 2007 at the Great Hall located in
historic Faneuil Hall. The state champion - Team
Massachusetts - will compete for the national title in Dallas,
Texas on May 10-12, 2007.
This year's case involves a trial before a judge (commonly
referred to as a "bench trial") in Superior Court on a criminal
matter involving a young driver charged with serious driving
offenses. After leaving a party late at night, while driving home
the defendant hits a pedestrian who is out walking his dog. The
pedestrian appears not to be seriously hurt, and the defendant
truly believes he's done nothing wrong. However, the matter
becomes much more complicated and serious when the pedestrian
later dies as the result of his injuries. The evidence seems to
indicate that the defendant may have engaged in some activity at
the party which, although claimed to be typical and harmless at the
time, now gives rise to allegations which support criminal
charges. Did the defendant engage in conduct at the party which
caused him to become "impaired" or not? Was the defendant even
aware that such conduct, even if typical and seemingly harmless,
could have placed him in such serious legal trouble? When you get
behind the wheel and something goes wrong, all of your actions come
under great scrutiny and things that may have seemed
non-controversial become subject to legal review.
Do you enjoy working with kids? Do you have trial experience?
Would you like to share your knowledge of the law and courtroom
procedures with eager young minds? Then volunteer as an attorney-coach or judge in the
annual Mock Trial Program.
The MBA's Mock Trial program is
generously supported by the law firm Brown Rudnick LLP and the
Massachusetts Bar Foundation.