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It’s That Time Of Year Again

January 25, 2008

With the 2008 John S. Bradway Philadelphia High School Mock Trial Competition just around the corner, I started thinking about my experiences as a high school mock trial competitor. I did not attend high school in Philadelphia and while my city’s competition was much smaller, I am sure I share some of the same experiences as Philadelphia’s students.

I joined my high school’s mock trial team when I was in 9th grade. I knew (or thought!) I wanted to be an attorney, so it was a great opportunity for me to get a taste of life as a trial lawyer, albeit with a lower stress level. I tried out for the team and was lucky enough to be selected as one of our team’s attorneys. Our coach was not only a classmate’s father, but also one of the best known attorneys in the state, who often appeared on Court TV. Over the next few months, we practiced our direct and cross examinations, opening statements and closing arguments, and making and responding to objections.

I was fifteen-years-old when I walked into my first trial, in my new suit, with key objection responses written on note cards. I was nervous, but the nerves went away soon after I uttered the words, “May it please the Court…my name is…” and jumped into my opening statement. We did not win anything that day, but our team did come away with an invaluable experience, which would not have been possible without the local attorneys who volunteered their time to judge our competition and provide feedback to the students.

Years later, I walked into my first trial as a high school mock trial scoring judge. I was not nervous and I did not have cue cards, but I had a good time. It was great to see so many students from all over the city take such an interest in the law. It was even better giving the students feedback and providing encouragement to pursue their interest in the law.

No one has asked me to solicit volunteers for the John S. Bradway Philadelphia High School Mock Trial Competition, but if you are interested in contributing a few hours of your time to this experience, you may sign up online.

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