Cleveland Mock Trial

“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

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. 

Volunteer legal coaches and judicial panelists needed in 2020

Attorneys, judges, and law students are invited to volunteer as coaches and/or judicial panelists for the Cleveland Mock Trial starting February 2020. 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 for one or both trials on Competition Day May 8: 9:00-11:00 a.m. or 12:00-2:00 p.m. at the Justice Center in downtown Cleveland. No trial experience necessary, just an enthusiasm for supporting local high school mock trial teams. Click here to sign up today!

2018 Competition

Congratulations to the more than 200 students, volunteers, and supporters who participated in the 2018 Cleveland Mock Trial Competition at the Justice Center on May 11, 2018! The CMBA extends special thanks to the more than 43 volunteers who served as legal advisors and judicial panelists, as well as the Cleveland Municipal Court for all its help and support that make the competition possible. Twelve Cleveland high school teams brought their peak game to the Justice Center, competing both as prosecution and defense in morning and afternoon trials. Highlighting the national opioid crisis, the 2018 competition involved criminal charges for a high school student accused of illegally selling the drugs that led to a fellow athlete's death, in a special case hypothetical written by past mock trial all-stars and Stokes Scholars Dairian Heard and Xavier Thomas-Hughes.
Special congratulations to the top teams from the 2018 Competition, as well as to students from Facing History New Tech, Collinwood, Cleveland Science & Medicine, Ginn, and Bard, who were recognized as Outstanding Attorneys, Witnesses, and Writer and will receive paid summer internships at the Cleveland Municipal Court.

  • First place: Cleveland School of Science & Medicine Team #2
  • Second place: Cleveland School of Science & Medicine Team #1
  • Third place: Facing History New Tech Team #1

The Cleveland Mock Trial Competition is a program of the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association, with funding support provided by the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Foundation.

The CMBF is a 501(c)(3) organization; gifts to it are tax deductible as charitable contributions for federal income tax purposes.

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