Warner Norcross + Judd LLP is proud to welcome the National High School Mock Trial Competition to Kalamazoo for the first time in the competition’s history.
The competition brings together more than 800 high school students from across the country for four virtual rounds of mock trials and two educational sessions, with a championship round and awards gala capping the four-day event. This year’s competition will take place May 4-7 online and in person, with the opening ceremony, mock trials and educational sessions taking place virtually, a judges reception at Warner’s office and the awards ceremony both virtual and in person.
Warner Senior Counsel James L. Liggins Jr., who has worked for four years to get the annual competition to come to Kalamazoo, is serving as this year’s event chair. Warner is a major sponsor of this year’s competition.
“We are pleased to welcome the National High School Mock Trial Competition to Kalamazoo and support students as they expand their knowledge of the law and put it into action,” Liggins said. “We are grateful to the Michigan Center for Civic Education for choosing our city for this important event – and for all it does to champion education and engagement in the practice of democracy.”
The mock trials will be centered on liability in the death of a Michigan pedestrian who was killed by a driverless autonomous vehicle. Students will review the fact pattern, witness statements and exhibits before preparing to argue both the plaintiff and defense side of the cases.
Teams will prepare opening statements, conduct direct and cross-examination of witnesses, argue objections, enter exhibits and deliver closing arguments. Judges will score teams on their understanding of case law and trial procedures, ability to argue effectively and to move the case forward, timeliness of objections, courtroom demeanor and other criteria.
“Participating in a mock trial program offers high school students a real and practical opportunity to understand how the legal and judicial systems work in our country,” noted Liggins, who has both participated in and coached mock trial competitions. “It allows students to recognize the true purpose of the things they are learning, while teaching them about legal process and civic life.
“For many students, including me, it is an introduction to the legal profession and can lead to a rewarding career. Through the competition, students will learn the importance of teamwork, team building, accountability and problem solving.”
While teams from Kalamazoo and across the state have been competing – and winning – the regional and national competitions, this is the first time Kalamazoo been chosen to host the competition.
Established in 1982 as a nonpartisan nonprofit corporation, the Michigan Center for Civic Education is dedicated to preparing active and informed members of society through law-related and civic education in Michigan. For more information, visit miciviced.org.
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