2020-2021 Mock Trial Members:
Dates of Competitions:
February 9th 5:00 – 8:00 (Defense)
February 24th 5:00 – 8:00 (Prosecution)
March 1st 5:00 – 8:00 (Defense)
What is Mock Trial?
The Massachusetts Bar Association’s Mock Trial Program offers high school students, from across the state, an opportunity to test their skills as lawyers and witnesses in a simulated courtroom competition. Throughout the competition, students learn about the fundamentals of the American judicial system and how it can impact their lives.
Every September, high schools from across Massachusetts register to compete. The tournament officially starts in January and runs through the Mock Trials Finals in March.
- Schools are divided into 32 geographic regions and compete in three preliminary rounds. The team with the greatest percentage of wins in each region advances. If two or more teams within a geographic region have the same percentage of wins, tiebreaker contests follow.
- Thirty-two regional winners then compete against one another. The matches and trials will be assigned at random. On the same day, the 16 winners from the regionals compete by random draw.
- The “Elite Eight” and “Final Four” are then held on the same day.
- The State Finals are held in March.
- The state champion — Team Massachusetts — competes for the national title.
The Mock Trial Program benefits high school participants in many ways. The overall purpose of the tournament is to provide an educational benefit, including:
- Furthering students’ understanding of the law, court procedures, civil liberties and our legal system
- Increasing students’ proficiency in basic life skills, such as listening, speaking, reading and reasoning
- Developing students’ advocacy skills, regardless of which side of the case is being represented and irrespective of the party with which students most identify
- Promoting better communication and cooperation between teachers, students, the schools and the legal profession
- Heightening students’ consciousness of law-related professions and the academic studies that lead to those professions
COVID-19 Regulations and Modifications
The Trial Court of Massachusetts has adopted many new protocols for cases to move forward, the virtual meeting room being one example. This year, the MBA – Mass. Bar Association – declined to run the competition due to a lack of resources, but two of the program’s most stalwart attorneys who have served in every capacity over 20 years decided to take it on and run it via Zoom, so it does still truly mirror the trial process in MA.
Teams now can be matched with any school in the state instead of the same competitors as it’s virtual, and the trials are scheduled to run from 5p.m. – 8:00p.m. when everyone can attend without missing school. Schools are paired by code that does not identify the schools, so no judge can see which schools are up against each other.
Carver has also provided two judges to the process in order to compete. Needless to say, they will not preside over any of our trials.