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Rotunda Report
  • Rotunda Report
    November 26, 2013

    Large Donations Push National Mock Trial Championship Closer to Fundraising Goal

    Nov. 26, 2013 – With several donations coming in over the past few weeks, the State Bar of Wisconsin’s National Mock Trial program is well on its way to achieving its ultimate fundraising goal of $200,000. To date, the State Bar has raised $138,000.   

    A large portion of the recently donated funds came from the Wisconsin chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA). In total, the organization pledged $35,000 – the largest donation to the National Mock Trial program so far.  The State Bar also received a large donation from the Wisconsin Association for Justice's foundation, the Wisconsin Civil Justice Education Foundation, which pledged $10,000.

    “Those of us involved in the fundraising efforts for the National Championship could not be more pleased about the significant increase in funds, especially ABOTA’s very generous donation,” said Mark Pennow, a member of the State Bar’s National Mock Trial Fundraising Committee. “The expense involved in supporting the event, with all the food, gas, and a host of other costs, has mushroomed over the decades since Wisconsin last hosted the championship.”

    Pennow was one of the judicial coordinators the last time the national event was held in Wisconsin, more than 20 years ago.

    “Even though things have changed throughout the years, one thing remains the same: we need sufficient funding in order to execute the events,” Pennow said.  “Contributions of any size would help give these young people the experience they deserve.”  

    Pennow said that achieving the $200,000 goal will help National Mock Trial coordinators cover necessary costs, such as lodging, daily meals, security and rental fees, as well as supplies.

    “Nearly 1,000 visitors are expected to attend the event, so it’s important that we have the means to put on a great program,” Pennow added. 

    The State Bar has set up seven sponsorship levels to recognize all of its donors, from those who give $1 to any amount over $25,000. 

    A number of organizations made generous contributions of $1,000-$2,499, which qualifies as an Officer of the Court sponsorship. These groups include the Wisconsin Defense Counsel, the State Bar of Wisconsin Real Property, Probate and Trust Section, State Bar of Wisconsin Health Law Section, the Waukesha County Bar, the Rhinelander High School Mock Trial team, Peterson, Berk & Cross, S.C., Foley & Lardner, and CUNA Mutual.

    “Since the championship is only six months away, it is imperative we keep the momentum going and work toward our final goal,” Pennow said.

    The National High School Mock Trial Championship will be held in Madison from May 8-10. In the past, students hailed from 46 states, as well as Guam, the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands, and South Korea.

    This year, organizers expect a good turnout and are excited about the national exposure the championship will provide to local businesses around the state.

    “This event only comes to Wisconsin once every few decades, so we must use this as an opportunity to make a long-lasting, positive impact on the hundreds of students who will be visiting our state. And we need your help to do that,” Pennow said.

    To donate online, visit and select the Donate Now button. All donations are tax deductible. Checks can also be made out to the Wisconsin Law Foundation and mailed to P.O. Box 7158 Madison, WI 53707-7158. The group welcomes multi-year donations, which must be made by Feb. 1, 2014.


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