Street Law Mock Trials
A variety of spin-offs have come from mock trials. One of the most rewarding is the area-wide mock trial competition. These competitions are like single elimination basketball tournaments. That is, teams from different schools compete against each other, with the losers eliminated and the winners proceeding to the next round. (Of course, the same model could be used for competitions between classes within a school.) The Street Law project has been conducting city-wide mock trials in Washington since 1972, and we'd be glad to send you information on how you can set up your own competition, just write to us at:
Street Law, Inc.
1010 Wayne Avenue
Silver Spring, MD 20910
Fax: 301-589-1131 Website
These competitions are real attention-grabbers, which build students' interest, involve volunteers in a creative way, and provide excellent public relations and publicity for your program. The competitions need not be expensive. They can usually take advantage of time donated by lawyers and judges, and judges or law schools can often make courtrooms available at no cost.
Goals of the Project
There is one point to remember that applies to mock trials at any level. Don't forget that the objective is not the precise replication of an actual trial but a learning experience for you, your students, and even for any resource persons who may be helping out. The emphasis shouldn't be on perfection, but on a non-threatening exercise with plenty of time for debriefing, enabling the class to go over key points in the trial and better understanding the whole experience. To put it another way, don't forget that mock trials should be both fun and a learning experience.