An extra-curricular activity offered up to the college level, starting in what we crazy Yanks call the 9th grade. As the name implies, teams re-enact, if you will, trials, and attempt to present the most convincing argument. Oddly enough, though, the verdict is never given. Teams divide into "lawyers" and "witnesses." Witnesses memorize their depositions, hone their character acting abilities, and if they play an expert, they learn a working knowledge of that field. (For example, I had to explain what happens as part of emergency room procedure). Lawyers are paired with witnesses and develop BOTH a direct examination and a cross-examination for them. Why both? Because they don't know if they'll be playing as the defense or the prosecution, so they memorize and prepare for both events. It's a lot of fun, especially if you're a whiny prima donna like me. The Little Rock Central High team placed fifth in the nation in 2000. Booyaka!

I did mock trial at Hammond High School in Columbia Maryland. We competed against other Howard County schools. We were given a case book with a summary of the rules, the written testimonies of the witnesses and a list of court dates. We then prepared for defense, prosecution, examinations and cross-examinations. There were six witnesses in every case, three for the defense and three for the prosecution. The people who played the role of the witness knew what questions to expect from their attorneys but were unsure of what to expect from the other side. Witnesses had to memorize all of the information about themselves in the case book as well as dress and act appropriately. The lawyers prepare for the trial, planning out a variety of questions as well as opening and closing statements. There are objections just like in a real court case. At the end of the case, the judge (a real judge mind you) makes his ruling on two things. First he rates each of the witnesses and lawyers based on their performances, how well they knew the information, how convincing they were, etc. The other thing that we were judged on was the actual case. There was a possibility for defense to win one part and prosecution to win the other part, some cases are just leaned toward one side. Mock trial helps with acting, memorization, understanding the law, as well as preparation to be a lawyer if one desires.

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