Each year attorneys all across North Carolina devote countless hours to the statewide mock trial program. Scores of legal professionals mentor hundreds of students by serving as team attorney advisors, explaining the nuances of courtroom decorum and the Rules of Evidence. Over 350 more share their expertise with students by serving as Presiding Judges and scoring jurors at our eight regional competitions in early February and State Finals in March. Why do so many busy professionals invest their time in our students in this way? As they will tell you, it is because the experience enriches their lives as much as it benefits the students.
The June issue of the North Carolina State Bar Journal describes the impact of the mock trial program on students, teachers, and legal professionals. As CCCE President M. Gordon Widenhouse explains, “The mock trial experience is a wonderful way to enhance the public awareness and perception of the judicial system and the right to a trial by jury. Watching the program grow and hearing the students, teachers, and parents express the difference it makes in their lives is most gratifying.”
Student Richard He, recipient of the 2013 Widenhouse Award for Inspirational Team Leadership, can attest to the impact of the mock trial program. In his application, Richard He wrote, “My three years in mock trial have transformed me not only into an effective and responsive leader, but also into a citizen with a broader appreciation for the American legal system and a strong interest in pursuing a career in law.”
Teacher coach Nemal Patel at Garinger High School in Charlotte has experienced the program both as a student and as a team advisor. As he recounts in the Journal, “Without the leadership I picked up as a high school competitor, I can say without a doubt my life would be significantly different. . . . I attribute many of my victories, both on a large scale and small, to the mock trial program. Moving forward, I encourage every coach, every attorney advisor, and every parent to make the most of this brilliant program!”
We at the CCCE wholeheartedly agree! To read the full story and learn why you should become involved in mock trial, download the article below. Reprinted with permission of the North Carolina State Bar.