Mock Trial provides an opportunity for students to grow in their understanding of the law and court systems used in our country, to improve their acting, critical thinking, and public speaking skills, and to work together as members of a team in preparation for the district and state competitions against other schools. Each year, lawyers the Nebraska State Bar Foundation research and author an original court case. Students then work as a team with local attorneys in order to examine the content of the case. Students are assigned a role either as a lawyer or a witness and prepare questions for direct- and cross-examinations for both the defense and prosecuting sides of the case. On the day of the competition, the team finds out which side they will represent and they compete against another team to present the trial in front of judges and attorneys who score them on their understanding of the case, their speaking and acting skills, and their professionalism in the courtroom.
General Mock Trial Schedule:
August – Bar Foundation releases the case, all teams meet together to review general information, and individual teams begin meeting.
September – October – Teams meet with their lawyers once or twice a week to study the case and prepare statements and questions.
Late October – November – Regional Competition (usually a 1-day, single-elimination competition)
Early December – State Competition (usually 2 days)
The winners of the State Competition advance to the National Competition in May, which involves new case material.