The High School Mock Trial program operates through the generous spirit of many individuals who volunteer their time. Volunteer opportunities range from coaching a team to evaluating or presiding during competition rounds in the spring to serving on a sub-committee behind the scenes. Without the volunteered time of the membership of the State Bar, the program would not be able to reach the almost 2,200+ high school students across the state of Georgia.
Each team is required to have at least one Attorney Coach; many teams have multiple coaches. The Attorney Coach works directly with the students in learning the legal aspects of preparing the case, from breaking down the case, drafting openings, closing, directs and crosses, to helping them learn how to make objections and use the Rules of Evidence. While this requires the greatest commitment of time, it also provides the most interaction and direct involvement with students in the program. Teams are responsible for identifying Attorney Coaches for their team but the Mock Trial office can assist teams in locating a coach.
Did you know? Attorney Coaches are eligible for CLE credit for their time coaching a team: 3 general CLE hours, including 1 hour in Ethics, 1 hour in Trial Practice, and 1 hour in Professionalism (3,1,1,1). Credit can be claimed by submitting the form below and fee by the March 15 deadline.
- Attorney Coach CLE Form (for the 2021 HSMT season) - Hours will be applied to the 2020 transcript.
The 2021 season will look a lot different than in the past. The entire competition will be conducted virtually and the structure of the season will be done as a statewide tournament through three levels instead of the traditional Region/District/State format. While the structure will change, the need for judging panel volunteers will not.
Attorneys and judges are used as Evaluators or Presiding Judges during the competition rounds. For each round of competition, four volunteers are needed in each courtroom (three Evaluators and one Presiding Judge).
All competition rounds will take place online through Zoom. Trials will be broken up across dates into "blocks":
- Saturdays @ 9:30 a.m.
- Saturdays @ 1:30 p.m.
- Sundays @ 1:30 p.m. (except Super Bowl Sunday, Feb. 7)
- Mondays @ 6:30 p.m.
- Tuesdays @ 6:30 p.m.
- Wednesdays @ 6:30 p.m.
- Thursdays @ 6:30 p.m.
Each block will have between 8 and 11 trials occuring at the same time, with each courtroom in its own Zoom breakout room. With 8 to 11 courtrooms, that equates to 32 to 44 judging panel members each day. Please consider signing up for multiple dates.
The Preliminary Rounds will act as the first level of the season, where all teams will compete in four randomly-matched rounds. Each team will present both sides of the case twice. After Round 4, the teams will be ranked by their cumulative record and the top 64 teams will move on to the Mid-Level Rounds.
- Dates: Saturday, January 30 through Wednesday, February 23.
The Mid-Level Rounds will consist of Rounds 5 and 6 and use the same competition blocks above. The teams will be divided into two brackets with pairings made randomly between each bracket. Teams will switch sides of the case between Rounds 5 and 6 so each team presents both sides of the case. Teams will be protected from competing against a sister team (a second team from their school) through Round 5 and protected from competing against the same team twice through Round 6. After Round 6, a new ranking will take place with the teams' six-round cumulative records and the top 32 teams will move on to the State Finals Tournament.
- Dates: Sunday, March 28 through Tuesday, March 9.
The State Finals Tournament will start by seeding the 32 advancing teams into four brackets of eight teams each. Teams will compete in a single-elimination tournament in true March Madness style. At this point, all protections of previous opponents and sister schools are off. The State Champion will go on to represent Georgia at the National High School Mock Trial (Virtual) Championship in Evansville, IN in May.
- Top ThirtyTwo: Saturday and Sunday, March 13 and 14
- Sweet Sixteen: Tuesday, March 16
- Elite Eight: Thursday, March 18
- Final Four: Saturday afternoon, March 20
- State Chamionship Final Round: Sunday afternoon, March 21
To register, please complete this form. The form includes the specific dates of competition blocks and the expected start time for each. Please feel free to share the flier (linked above) and encourage others to sign up.
Did you know? CLE credit is available for attorneys and judges serving on a judging panel during the 2021 mock trial season: 1 general CLE hour, including 1 hour in Trial Practice and 1 hour in Professionalism (1,1,0,1). Members who are able to help at a second level of competition can claim an additional 1 general CLE hour and 1 hour in Trial Practice (1,1,0,0). To claim the credit, complete the form and mail it in with the fee to the Mock Trial office. Details about the credits available and how they are applied are on the form.
The Mock Trial Competition is operated by the YLD's HSMT Committee which oversees the program. The committee is chaired by a chair, 1st vice chair and 2nd vice chair. Subcommittees exist to work on the creation of the Problem, the Rules of the Competition, planning for State Finals, Honors and Awards, and Development (Fundraising). To volunteer for the committee, please contact Michael Nixon in the Mock Trial office: email@example.com or 404-527-8779.