Promoting Critical Thinking, Public Speaking & Teamwork
Since 1983, Maryland high school students have been arguing in courts throughout the state. What are they arguing? Why, the law of course!
At the center of each year's competition is a new legal case - either civil or criminal in nature - that challenges students to think critically about timely issues. Acting as attorneys and witnesses, students portray defense or plaintiff/prosecution and are scored on their performances by judges or attorneys.
The program's objectives are to (1) Further understanding of the law, court procedures, and the legal system; (2) Increase proficiency in soft skills such as listening, speaking, reading and reasoning; and (3) Heighten appreciation for academic studies as well as career consciousness of law-related professions.
Competitions take place at the local level - within each of the eight judicial circuits in Maryland - from January through March. The teams with the "winning-est" record from each of the circuits advance to the Regionals; those that prevail in the Regionals advance to Annapolis as part of the Final Four. At the invitation of the Maryland State Bar Association, which sponsors the Mock Trial Competition each year, the top four teams stay overnight in Annapolis, where they will compete in the Semi-Finals and potentially advance to the State Championship.
In what has become a true tradition, the two finalists compete in Maryland's highest court - the Court of Appeals. The State Championship is webcast live from the high court, and is available to view here: Mock Trial State Championship Webcast.
Volunteers Make it Possible
The success of the Mock Trial program is heavily dependent upon volunteer attorneys and judges who coach teams, and score competitions at local, regional, semi-final and final levels. Each year, several hundred attorneys, masters and judges across the state volunteer thousands of hours for this program.
Teachers, courthouse personnel, and many others across the state are also part of this incredible network of volunteers who help this program run efficiently throughout the season.
Volunteer opportunities are flexible and convenient. Mock Trial runs throughout the state, in virtually every county. If your time is limited, and you would enjoy judging a competition, it's an easy way to give 2-3 hours of your time without further obligations. If you have more time, on a consistent basis, then you may enjoy coaching one of our teams. We will work with you to ensure we find the perfect volunteer opportunity!
I want to volunteer!