During the 2011-2012 season, over 350 members of the legal profession volunteered their time with us, enabling the mock trial program to reach more than 550 high school students across North Carolina. Justices, judges, attorneys, and law students invested in our students by serving as attorney advisors for teams as they prepared for competition, or by providing feedback as presiding judges and scoring jurors at Regional and State Finals competitions. Dozens of paralegals and legal assistants served behind the scenes as Site Coordinators and site volunteers to ensure that all the logistical details at the Regional competitions ran smoothly. The untold hours invested by these volunteers have already paid dividends in the lives of the students, helping them to develop self-confidence, communication skills, and analytical thinking abilities which are crucial to their future success. But the students are not the only ones to benefit; the volunteers are enriched by the experience as well. Listen to the words of two of our long-term volunteers:
“I would not take anything for the experience of judging or scoring for the Mock Trial program. I have been doing it off and on, as time has permitted, since the inception of the program. I got my older son, who is now an attorney, involved as a student in high school, and he now regularly coaches a team. I guess it’s in our blood! It is always so rewarding to see the young people who have spent so much time and effort in preparation for the competitions, and I believe it is such a worthwhile and positive endeavor for them. I look forward to many more competitions in the future.” – The Honorable Mary Ann Tally
“I have been participating as a coach [attorney advisor] in the NCAJ mock trial competitions since I graduated law school in 2005. Over the past several years, mock trial has given me the opportunity to be a part of the lives of dozens of the most amazing young men and women a person could ever meet. My first class of students just recently graduated from college. Some are now in law school; some are working in business; others are working in software companies; one is teaching English in South Korea. Every single one has taught me as much as I ever taught any one of them.
“The most rewarding aspect of coaching mock trial is to see the development in the confidence of the students. Before the first round of regionals one year, we had a student in the hallway who was crying and shaking in terror about giving her opening statement. Her fears proved unfounded, since she performed well enough to get an award for Best Attorney for her performance that round. I would not trade anything for the smile on her face when she was walking back with that certificate in hand.
“While I view my primary role as building up and encouraging them, I experienced a bit of role reversal recently. After I wrapped up my closing arguments in a first degree murder case I was prosecuting, I looked out into the audience and saw a few of my mock trial students there to encourage me.” – Darren C. Allen, Attorney
As you can see, helping with the mock trial program enriches the lives of the volunteers as well as the students. We have already posted the volunteer registration information for our upcoming regional competitions on our website. Go to https://ncmocktrial.org/get-involved to learn more and sign up to join us!!