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Local High Schools Begin Competition in 2012 Statewide Mock Trials

NORRISTOWN - On Tuesday, January 31, 2012, 32 teams from Montgomery County high schools began competition for the district crown in Pennsylvania's mock trial program at the Montgomery County Courthouse.  It is sponsored by Montgomery Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Section and Pennsylvania Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Division.  Now in its 28th year, Pennsylvania’s statewide Mock Trial Competition includes over 280 high schools from across the Commonwealth, making it one of the largest programs of its kind in the nation.

Teams from Montgomery County participating in the District Mock Trial Competition are from the following schools:
Abington Senior High School, Friends Central School (two teams), Germantown Academy , Gwynedd Mercy Academy High School, Harriton High School, Jack M.  Barrack Hebrew Academy, Jenkintown High School, LaSalle College High School (two teams), Lower Merion High School, Lower Moreland High School (two teams), Methacton High School (two teams) Mount Saint Joseph Academy (two teams), Norristown Area High School, North Penn High School, Philadelphia Montgomery Christian Academy,  Plymouth Whitemarsh High School (two teams), Pottsgrove High School, Souderton Area High School, The Baldwin School, The Haverford School (two teams), The Hill School, Upper Dublin High School (two teams) and Wissahickon High School.

According to the Montgomery Bar Association’s 2012 Young Lawyers Section Chair, Seth D. Wilson, Esq., over 100 Montgomery County judges, teachers and lawyers will volunteer their time again this year to prepare teams for competition and to judge competitions at the district level.  During the competition, eight-member student teams are given the opportunity to argue both sides of the case in an actual courtroom before an actual sitting judge from Montgomery County’s Court of Common Pleas.  The students, who play the roles of lawyers, witnesses, plaintiffs and defendants, are assisted by teacher coaches and lawyer advisors in preparing for competition.  Lawyers, law office staff and community leaders serve as jurors for the mock trials. The juries determine the winners in each trial based on the teams' abilities to prepare their cases, present arguments and follow court rules.

The district levels of the competition will continue throughout the third week of March.  The Regional Competition will conclude on March 17.  At the conclusion of the local competitions, one local team will join 11 other high school mock trial teams from across Pennsylvania in advancing to the Pennsylvania Bar Association Statewide Mock Trial Championships, March 30 and 31, in Harrisburg.  The winning team of the state championship will represent Pennsylvania in the national mock trial finals to be held in late spring in New Mexico.

This year's case is a civil action in which the plaintiff seeks an injunction to prevent the owner of a pharmaceutical plant from expanding its operations, arguing that an endangered species is alleged to have been found on the land where the expansion is to occur.  The case was written by Jonathan A. Grode of Philadelphia and Paul W. Kaufman of Philadelphia.  Jane E. Meyer of Harrisburg, a current member of the National High School Mock Trial Championship Board of Directors, edited the final version of the case in collaboration with Grode and Kaufman.

For more information about the 2012 Pennsylvania Bar Association Statewide Mock Trial Championships and to read this year's case, go to the Young Lawyers Division's section of the PBA website at http://www.pabar.org.  For District competition dates, times and results, please visit the Montgomery Bar Association’s website, http://www.montgomerybar.org.  Those interested in volunteering as jurors in the upcoming weeks should contact Nancy Hagner at the Montgomery Bar Association at 610-279-9660, Ext. 208.

About the Montgomery Bar Association

Established in 1885 to professionalize the county’s practice of law, the Montgomery Bar Association (MBA) is one of our nation’s oldest and most respected bar associations, representing over 2,100 legal professionals in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.  Now, as then, the MBA exists to uphold legal and ethical standards in our legal community.  As the 3rd largest Bar in Pennsylvania, the MBA has a longstanding tradition of service to its membership and the community.   For members, the MBA offers an important arena for networking, professional development and education.  For the community, the MBA serves as a legal resource offering education, legal assistance and funds and resources for individuals and agencies in need.  The Association is actively engaged in public service through community outreach, free educational events offered throughout the year, programs like the Montgomery Child Advocacy Project, the Mock Trial Competitions for high-school students, and more.  For more information on the Montgomery Bar Association, visit www.montgomerybar.org.