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Cleveland & Ohio Mock Trial Competitions

“The only exposure I had to the legal field was from television shows such as Law & Order. Mock Trial allowed me to come face to face with the career I have always known I wanted to pursue. For me, Mock Trial was not just a competition in high school. Mock Trial was the most important building block that solidified my passion to pursue law and become a lawyer. Not only did Mock Trial introduce me to mentors and legal professionals, but it also ignited a fire in me that still burns today."  --Tiana Bohanon, Cleveland State University Class of 2016

Cleveland Mock Trial

The Cleveland Mock Trial Competition gives Cleveland high school students a chance to prepare their best legal arguments for an exciting day of competition with their peers each year in the spring. Coached by volunteer attorneys and law students, the teams take turns representing the prosecution and defense in a criminal appeal, giving them the opportunity both to hone their legal skills and to learn more about important issues facing teens today. The top attorneys, witness, and essay writer are rewarded with a paid summer internship at the Cleveland Municipal Court.

In years past the topics have included the opioid crisis, police encounters, charges of hazing, driving while texting, bullying, misdemeanor child endangerment, and criminal stalking. The 2019 case featured a hypothetical based on real historic events of great interest to Cleveland students: the trial of Fred Ahmed Evans in the wake of the shootout between political activists and police in the Glenville neighborhood. Students in Glenville High School reviewed and learned about the trial in 2019, the 50th anniversary of the events in question. The case presented an ideal opportunity for learning about criminal procedure, disputes between witnesses and their credibility, and interactions between the public and police, which continues to be a hot button issue today. 

Attorneys, judges, and law students are invited to volunteer as coaches and/or judicial panelists for the Cleveland Mock Trial when the competition resumes. Legal coaches visit their assigned classrooms about once a week from March through the competition in early May (3-4 visits total based on volunteers' availability and schedules) to help students understand mock trial basics. Volunteers can also sign up to judge trials on Competition Day: no trial experience necessary, just an enthusiasm for supporting local high school mock trial teams.

Ohio Mock Trial Competition

The CMBA is pleased to partner with the Ohio Center for Law-Related Education (OCLRE) once again for the 2021 Ohio Mock Trial Competition. This popular program allows high school students across the state to present their best legal arguments before a panel of volunteers, and with the competition happening virtually in 2021 you can volunteer from anywhere!

In years past, teams from Northeast Ohio competed in Cleveland courtrooms to advance from the District Competition in January to Regional in February. This year, teams from across the state will be matched at random to go head-to-head without being separated by geographic location.

Volunteer attorneys, judges, and law students serve as competition judicial panelists for all stages of the Competition. At this done-in-a-day volunteer opportunity, volunteers have the chance to observe the region's finest budding legal minds. Judicial panels score students based on their understanding of the case facts and applicable law, the roles of the attorney and witnesses at trial, and courtroom procedures and decorum.  

To volunteer, contact Jessica Paine, Director of Community Programs.

 

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