Washington State YMCA Mock Trial Program
The Washington State YMCA Mock Trial Competition is a program of YMCA Youth and Government. Co-sponsors are the Office of the Administrator for the Courts, the Young Lawyer Division of the Washington State Bar Association, Superior Court Judges' Association, and the District and Municipal Court Judges' Association.
In mock trial competitions, high school students portray each of the principals in a cast of courtroom characters. As the student teams study a hypothetical case, review the research in a mock trial kit and receive guidance from volunteer attorneys in courtroom procedure and trial preparation, they acquire a working knowledge of our judicial system. Students participate as attorneys, witnesses, and court bailiffs.
Mock Trials Teach Lessons Mock Trials Teach Skills - in critical thinking and analysis - in courtroom procedures - in oral advocacy - in legal mechanics - in planning and preparation - in dispute resolution - in understanding complex, sometimes - in decision-making - controversial, issues and ideas - in teamwork
Mock trials present a "hands on" learning experience which can enhance classroom lessons or be a part of youth group and extra-curricular activities. Research has shown that students who are involved in effective, law-related education programs show greater interest in their studies, more respect for their teachers, and a better understanding of their rights and responsibilities.
Interaction with local judges and practicing lawyers can give students a more positive, understanding attitude toward these professions. At the same time, community networks are strengthened between educational and legal professionals as they work together in teaching students and in conducting mock trial competitions.
Finally, a mock trial experience can help students prepare for the realities of everyday life. Lessons learned in a mock trial experience will apply to real-life adult roles as litigant, witness, or juror.
After preparing for mock trials in the classroom and/or during extra curricular activities, student teams will compete in one of the ten district competitions in February. District boundaries are based those of the Educational Service Districts (ESD) throughout Washington State. The top two winners of each district competition go on to compete in the state finals held each spring in Olympia. Students will have the opportunity to present their cases before real judges in real courtrooms. Their performance will be rated by practicing attorneys.
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