More than 120 high schools competing in 2011 Mock Trial

Issue February 2011 By Jennifer Rosinski

More than 1,000 students across the state are turning their classrooms into courtrooms to assume the roles of both lawyers and witnesses during this year's 26th annual Mock Trial Program presented by the Massachusetts Bar Association, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary.

First organized in 1985, the Mock Trial Program started Jan. 31 with preliminary trials and runs through April 1. The program places high school teams from 16 regions across the state in a simulated courtroom.

Students at more than 120 schools across the commonwealth are expected to participate in the 2011 Mock Trial Program. More than 100 lawyers across the state are volunteering as coaches and judges.

In this year's criminal case, a teenager is charged with involuntary manslaughter for the death of two people in a car accident. The defendant is accused of removing a stop sign as part of a high school scavenger hunt.

Out of the more than 100 teams of students, four will advance to the semifinal elimination round and face off during trials held simultaneously on March 28 in Boston and Worcester.

The two winning teams will advance to the finals, where they will compete for the state championship, slated for April 1 in the Great Hall of Faneuil Hall in Boston. In 2010, The Winsor School of Boston won the state championship and placed 11th in the national tournament.

The Mock Trial Program is administered by the MBA, and made possible by the international law firm of Brown Rudnick LLP through its Center for the Public Interest in Boston, which has contributed $25,000 per year to the program since 1998.