Dec. 10, 2013 – High school mock trial teams from around the state have until Friday, Dec. 13 to sign up for the 31st Annual Regional Mock Trial Tournament. So far, 102 teams have signed up.
“Participating in regional tournaments is a great way for teams to learn about the law, while arguing their case in a real courtroom, in front of practicing judges and attorneys,” said State Bar of Wisconsin Mock Trial Committee Co-Chair Emily Lonergan. “No matter if this is a team’s first year or their fourth; there is always something to gain from the experience of presenting a true-to-life case in a very official setting.”
The regional tournaments, which will take place simultaneously in 11 regions around the state, are scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 8, with the top teams from each region advancing to the state semifinals on Saturday, March 9.
“I’m really looking forward to hearing about all of the unique interpretations of the case that will come out of the local competitions,” Lonergan said.
She explained that this year’s case was designed to incorporate several relevant themes and characters that will hopefully resonate with a high school audience.
The case, which was drafted by members of the State Bar of Wisconsin’s Mock Trial Committee, will prompt students to prepare and present their arguments based on the following scenario:
Taylor Hamilton was driving Mom’s car, heading to P-cubed on the night of the big game. Alex Cooper left the game early because the team was losing, as usual. Alex cut through the woods and started to cross Nash Street, behind the high school. When the car and Alex collided, Alex was badly injured. Was Taylor careful enough or was Taylor distracted by friends and a text message? Did Alex’s hoodie cause a problem or did he exercise caution in crossing the road?
Not too long after the regional competition, mock trial will once again play a significant role in the state of Wisconsin. This spring, the State Bar is set to host the National High School Mock Trial Championship. More than 1,000 students, parents, teachers, coaches and volunteers from across the nation are expected to visit Madison from May 8 to 10 to participate in the event.
“Hosting the national championship is a great honor,” Lonergan said. “This is going to be an exciting opportunity to demonstrate to the nation, the State Bar’s commitment to the mock trial program.”
The State Bar is hoping to recruit more than 350 volunteer mock trial judges for the national championship, and the regionals are a great way for attorneys and judges to get their feet wet. Volunteers must have judged two rounds of mock trial in the past five years before they can donate their time to the national event.
Katie Stenz is the public affairs coordinator with the State Bar of Wisconsin. She can be reached at org kstenz wisbar wisbar kstenz org, or by phone at (608) 250-6145.
“We are encouraging all State Bar members to give back,” Lonergan said. “Judging a few rounds of mock trial is a prime opportunity to educate the future jurors of our state, as well as positively enhance the public image of the legal profession.”
For more information about the regional Mock Trial tournament or to get involved with the National Championship, contact the program coordinator at PubEdCoordinator@wisbar.org or (800) 444-9404, ext. 6140.
Important Mock Trial Dates
Mock Trial Final Entry Deadline: Dec. 13, 2013
Team Drop Deadline: Jan. 10, 2014
National Mock Trial Preliminary Form Due: Jan. 13, 2014
Regional Tournaments (at locations around the state): Feb. 8, 2014
Tie-breaker Rounds (if necessary): Feb. 15, 2014
State Semifinals and Awards Program: March 9, 2014
State Final Round (Wisconsin Supreme Court): March 10, 2014
National Mock Trial Championship: May 8-10, 2014