MBA recruits judges, coaches for Mock Trial

Each year the Massachusetts Bar Association hosts the statewide Mock Trial Program to help students learn more about the law, court procedures and our legal system, and also give them an opportunity to sharpen their analytical, listening and speaking skills. The program also seeks to promote better communication and cooperation between the school community and the legal profession.

The MBA invites you to volunteer as an attorney-coach or judge in the 22nd Annual Statewide High School Mock Trial Tournament. The program places students in a simulated courtroom situation where they assume the roles of lawyers and witnesses in a hypothetical case. This year's case involves a trial before a judge in district court, on a criminal matter involving a young driver charged with a serious driving offense.

As an attorney-coach, you will be matched with a teacher at a school near where you live or work. Your role will be to help the team develop its strategy, teach the students about courtroom decorum and provide an attorney's perspective on the issues of the case. Many attorney-coaches meet with their teams once or twice in preparation for the season (trials begin in late January), although some choose to take a more active role in the day-to-day coaching of the team.

With nearly 200 trials being held over the course of six weeks, there is an ongoing demand for attorneys with trial experience to judge a case or two. Judging involves a minimal time commitment - only the time it takes you to familiarize yourself with the case, bench memorandum and the official mock trial rules and the actual two-hour trial. Trials are held in courthouses throughout the state, so it is likely one will be convenient for you.

As always, the MBA could not have a successful tournament without the generosity of volunteer attorney-coaches and judges, the Trial Court and the program's sponsor, Brown Rudnick LLP. The MBA is confident that this year's volunteers will find the tournament to be a fun and enriching experience.

If you are interested in participating in this year's program as a judge or attorney-coach, please e-mail Mock Trial Central or call (617) 338-0570.

©2014 Massachusetts Bar Association