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Editorial


Front Page - Friday, October 26, 2018

Bar Association needs high school mock trial coaches




The Chattanooga Bar Association and the CBA’s Young Lawyers Division are organizing next year’s local high school mock trial competition. With the assistance of attorney members of both organizations, along with the Justices Ray L. Brock, Jr. and Robert E. Cooper American Inn of Court, the association hopes to provide jurors, judges and attorney coaches for the competition.

Every year, Tennessee public and private schools, as well as associations of homeschooled students, compete in local mock trial competitions across the state. Hamilton County’s competition is held each February at the downtown City-County Courts Building.

In the past, anywhere from 12 to 16 teams compete in the weeklong competition, and the top two teams qualify to compete in the statewide competition held each March in Nashville.

The Tennessee Bar Association releases the content of the uniform mock trial case to schools prior to Thanksgiving, and teams typically practice and prepare for the case in the months leading up to the February competition.

This year’s mock trial case is criminal in nature, and students will compete as prosecuting and defense attorneys, as well as the various witnesses involved in the case. Students with an interest in law, debate, drama and other performing arts often volunteer to participate in this extracurricular activity.

A few Hamilton County high schools, including East Hamilton, Ooltewah, Redbank and Signal Mountain, participate regularly in the annual competition along with Baylor, GPS, McCallie, Notre Dame and teams comprised of homeschool and STEM school students.

Hamilton County Superintendent Dr. Bryan Johnson is committed to increasing participation among local public schools. After meeting with Johnson, Brainerd High School and Tyner High School expressed interest in fielding a team in this year’s competition.

With this renewed focus on increasing public school participation in the competition, the CBA pledged to provide new public schools teams with one or more attorney “coaches.”

This is where the CBA needs help from local attorneys.

The time commitment can be “as little or as much as you would like,” says CBA Executive Director Lynda Hood. In the past, coaches typically work with a faculty sponsor to meet with students after school during December, January and February. The coaches also guide the team through the local competition and beyond.

Attorneys who are interested in assisting one of these teams should contact the local mock trial coordinator, General Sessions Court Judge Alex McVeagh, at alexanderm@hamiltontn.gov.

Source: CBA