Today and tomorrow, high school students from all over the state are competing in the Regional Division of the OCLRE (Ohio Center for Law-Related Education) Mock Trial.
Through a collaboration with the CBA LRS committee, attorneys and judges can volunteer to judge the district competition.
This was my third year “judging” at the district level, and I want to stress how different, but important this year felt.
Ordinarily, local attorneys serve as the judges for local high school teams in their district. The trials take place in the Main Courthouse, to give the students a true to life experience in real courtrooms. (And as a side note, it is a REALLY strange sensation to sit in the real Judges’ real chairs and meet in their chambers—I always made an extra effort to move nothing, and leave nothing behind.)
This year, however—things went virtual.
And, of course, no one knew what to expect, or how things would go.
During the volunteer judges’ training, the trainers explained to us how important the Mock Trial experience has been to the thousands of Ohio high schoolers who are participating this year. In a year when they have missed out on so many typical high school experiences, they could still have Mock Trial. And, I remember learning in past years that Mock Trial participation in Ohio is only second to sports participation. In short, a lot of students participate in Mock Trial, and they needed this.
I was able to volunteer for 3 sessions over 2 weeks, which meant judging 6 trials. And, there were some interesting Zoom glitches—people getting in the wrong rooms, at the wrong times, losing audio or video, mostly because some parts of the state have less reliable Wi-Fi than others. I can report, however, that no one was turned into a cat.
And, through the magic of technology, it was really fun to meet Judges, attorneys, and students from all over the state.
I hope that the students enjoyed their once in a lifetime experience, and made the best of it.
From what I saw, they were very prepared, and very talented. It looks like the future of the legal profession is in very capable hands.
The teams, their coaches, their parents, families, friends, and fans should all be very proud of all of them. Their talent and hard work truly were on display. Literally, on the ZOOM display.
Not every team that participated moved on to this weekend’s Regional Division—and heartfelt congratulations to the teams that did. Good luck to all of the advancing teams. They will represent our region and legal community very well at the state level.