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Mock Trial competition returns


This month, 285 teams from 235 high schools across Pennsylvania will compete in district and regional levels of the Statewide High School Mock Trial Competition sponsored by the Pennsylvania Bar Association (PBA) Young Lawyers Division.

Pennsylvania’s mock trial program, now in its 37th year, is one of the largest in the nation.

During the competition, eight-member student teams are given the opportunity to argue both sides of the case in an actual courtroom before a judge. The students, who play the roles of lawyers, witnesses, plaintiffs and defendants, are assisted by teacher coaches and lawyer advisors in preparing for competition. Lawyers and community leaders serve as jurors for the mock trials. The juries determine the winners in each trial based on the teams’ abilities to prepare their cases, present arguments and follow court rules.

The district and regional levels of the competition will continue throughout February and March. At the conclusion of the local competitions, 14 high school mock trial teams will advance to the PBA Statewide Mock Trial Championships, March 27 and 28, in Harrisburg.

The winning team of the state championship will represent Pennsylvania in the national mock trial finals to be held May 6 to 9 in Evansville, Ind.

The Pennsylvania Bar Foundation, the charitable affiliate of the PBA, is providing funding support for the statewide competition.

This year’s hypothetical case is a civil trial to determine whether the defendant is liable for failing to address cyberbullying at a private school.

The case was written by Jonathan A. Grode of Philadelphia, Paul W. Kaufman of Philadelphia and Koltash.

Bucks County teams participating in the 2020 Statewide Mock Trial Competition are: Archbishop Wood High School, Bensalem High School, Bristol High School, Central Bucks High School East, Central Bucks High School South (two teams), Central Bucks High School West, Council Rock High School North, Council Rock High School South (two teams), Holicong Middle School, Holy Ghost Preparatory School, Lenape Middle School, Pennridge High School, Plumstead Christian School, Tamanend Middle School and Villa Joseph Marie High School.

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