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.

©2014 Massachusetts Bar Association