Ohio Mock Trial began in 1983 as a collaboration between the Ohio State Bar Association, the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio Foundation, and Attorney General Anthony Celebreeze, to create partnerships between the education and legal communities to teach students about their constitutional rights and responsibilities. The Supreme Court of Ohio joined as a partner and program sponsor in 1988, according the Ohio Center for Law-Related Education (OCLRE) history page. http://www.oclre.org/aws/OCLRE/pt/sp/about_history
Also according to OCLRE, the High School Mock Trial Competition is the largest high school academic competition in Ohio, attracting upwards of 3500 students, and 1000 legal professional volunteers.
And, they are looking for more attorney volunteer judges this year.
This coming Friday, February 18th, is the Regional competition. The last information OCLRE sent out indicated that they still needed about 28 volunteer judges for the 8:30-2:30 period, and 29 for the 12:45-6:15 time period.
I wish I could do it again this Friday.
You have heard me talk about the fun of judging the district competition for a few years now, and I was fortunate that I was able to do it again this year.
And, yes, it is on Zoom again. Which led to a few fun adventures. There were (still) a few glitches, and although no one showed up as a cat (that is still funny!), I heard that one school district completely lost power and another Judge was stuck in his courtroom when the entire courthouse was without power—in another county, of course!
Each year, I am increasingly impressed with the timeliness of the problems that OCLRE’s team creates—in the past few years the “case files” have covered 4th Amendment Search and Seizure by a drone flying over someone’s yard, and school discipline regarding student speech on social media and off campus. This year, the problem is whether or not COVID-19 closures constitute a taking under the Constitution.
But, every year—the stars of the show are the students. Once again, they show their dedication and talent, and they are impressive. They know their facts, they know their case law, and they are great performers. Many of them have futures in the courtrooms of tomorrow.
If you’re interested in taking a few hours to help out by donating your talent and time to support these future litigators, you can visit https://bit.ly/MTJudge to sign-up or reach out to Danielle Wilmot (firstname.lastname@example.org) with any questions.