BTW Mock Trial Teams Compete in Courtrooms

May 3, 2022

On May 2nd- May 3rd,2022, the Middle District Court and Magistrate Judge Kelly Pate hosted the Booker T. Washington Magnet High School’s Magnet Law Program in their Mock Trial competition. The Magnet Law Program is a Legal Services Career Technical Education Program that provides students with both the classroom and practical experience in careers associated with legal services. One of the newest additional features of the program is the ability for students to take the Accredited Legal Profession Exam to gain certification to begin work in the field.

For the mock trial competition, about 30 students from the Magnet Law Program diligently worked to craft arguments and evidence for a civil and criminal case. Majority of these students had never previously participated in a mock trial competition before. Elizabeth Bowles, advisor for the program, expressed how determined the students were to learn their cases and be ready for court with Judge Pate.

Bowles also discussed how influential the four volunteer attorneys were in preparing the students. She was happy that the attorneys challenged the students to think critically to develop their strategies for trial and provided them with some insight as to what a career in the legal field could resemble. Judge Pate presided over both the civil and criminal mock trial cases. BTW Student and ALMD Intern Victoria Johnson served as the Courtroom Deputy for the civil trial.

One vital aspect of the Magnet Law Program is mentorship. Not only did each team have an attorney mentor, but they also had senior student mentors who had previously participated in mock trial. The students and advisor wanted to extend an opportunity to participate to other students in the community. During the civil trial, 8th grade students from Goodwin Middle School served as jurors. The student participants and jurors did an amazing job and were very engaged with the cases. The preparation and execution of a mock trial teaches confidence, discipline, and encourages participation amongst students which will resonate with them for a lifetime.