Q: What are the benefits of Mock Trial?

A: The Arizona High School Mock Trial is a time-honored tradition, operating for over a quarter of a century. Teams from Arizona have succeeded on the national level, having won the national championship in 1987 and 1997, as well as second place in 1993 and 1996. The Arizona High School Mock Trial Program is a positive academic experience that gives students an opportunity to improve their speaking, writing, reading and analytical skills while learning about the judicial system. As participants, the students play the role of attorneys and witnesses in a fictitious case. The Arizona Foundation for Legal Services & Education is committed to educating the leaders of tomorrow by helping them achieve a higher knowledge of the legal system.

 

Q: What are the personal advantages to me as the teacher coach?

A: Many teachers have incorporated LRE activities such as mock trials into their classes for many years. They have discovered that the pursuit of legal knowledge has invigorated their careers by bringing a valuable dimension to their classes. Adding a mock trial team to the list of the extra-curricular activities offered by your school is an excellent way to reach out to those students who may not participate in an athletic or fine arts program. It will also offer you, as the teacher coach, the opportunity to work with students on a level rarely experienced during a 50 minute class period.

 

Q: Who participates?

A: More than 800 students statewide! Each team of six to eight students has an opportunity to participate in several rounds of trials on the regional level. The mock trial student teams have three attorneys, three witnesses, and up to two alternates.

 

Q: How is Mock Trial organized?

A: The regional mock trials take place generally the last weekend in February and are coordinated by District Coordinators who are members of the Young Lawyers Division of the State Bar of Arizona. The trials usually take place in area courtrooms, and teams have the opportunity to argue both sides of the case. Additional students, teachers, coaches or family members are welcome to observe the trials.

Teacher coaches may select their own attorney coaches, or the regional coordinators or the Arizona Foundation for Legal Services & Education will assist in recruiting attorneys to coach teams. Local judges and lawyers also serve to judge the regional trials.   

  

Q: Where can I find information on courtroom decorum?

A: Visit the Mock Trial website, www.lawforkids.org/mock-trial, and see Handout entitled "Making the Most of Your Presentation" in the Download Center.

 

Q: What type of problem do the teams argue?

A: Some years it is a criminal case and some years it is a civil case. You can access this year's case by visiting the Mock Trial website, www.lawforkids.org/mock-trial. You can access previous years' cases in the Archives section of the Download Center.

 

Q: Where can I find information to help our team master mock trial skills?

A: Visit the Mock Trial website, www.lawforkids.org/mock-trial, and see Handout "Master the 10 Most Difficult Things" in the Download Center.

 

Q: If my knowledge of the legal system is not extensive, can I still be a valuable teacher coach?

A: When approached about sponsoring a new mock trial team, many potential teacher coaches say to themselves: "I'm not that knowledgeable in the law. I have never had a basic law course. How am I supposed to prepare students to do something I know little about, have never studied, and am insecure in directing?" Successful sponsorship of a mock trial team does not require law courses or past experience in the legal field. It requires the standard elements of sacrifice and dedication teachers are used to giving every day, regardless of the major subject area in which they work. By cooperating with their team's attorney coaches, whatever gaps there may exist in a teacher's legal knowledge can be breached. If this would be your first year in the competition, use your coach as your "legal tutor." You can't beat the tuition, and the knowledge gained this year will add to your confidence next year!

 

Q: Where can I find tips and advice for sponsoring a mock trial team?

A: Visit the mock trial website, www.lawforkids.org/mock-trial, and see Handout "Guidelines for Teachers" in the Download Center.   

 

Q: What happens after the regional competitions?

A: Sixteen teams are invited to attend the Arizona High School Mock Trial State Tournament. The winner of each region is guaranteed a berth at state, with the remaining at-large invitations divided among the regions on a pro rata basis. The State Tournament usually takes place in March, with the winner representing Arizona at the National High School Mock Trial Competition, held at a different location each year in May.

Visit www.nationalmocktrial.org for more information on the National High School Mock Trial Championship.

 

Q: Where can I find winning tips for student attorneys and witnesses?

A: Visit the mock trial website, www.lawforkids.org/mock-trial, and see the Handouts in the Download Center.

 

Q: What does it cost to participate in the Arizona Mock Trial Competition?

A: The entry fee is only $240 per team. Registration materials can be found at www.lawforkids.org/mock-trial

 

Q: This is my first year as a teacher coach; any other suggestions that would be helpful?

A: As with all new undertakings, we suggest you take your potential sponsorship of a team step-by-step. The state Mock Trial office is available to make your experience a positive one, with great instructional resources and an enthusiastic staff. Participation in this program can be educationally exciting and valuable for you and your students. Therein lies the true success in competition - not whether your team takes a prize in a round or at a competition.

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