Eighteen teams representing high schools from all around Oregon competed in the 2020 Mock Trial State Finals on Friday and Saturday, March 6 and 7 at the Mark O. Hatfield U.S. Courthouse in downtown Portland.
After four rounds of competition, the top four teams were announced.
Village Home and West Linn took the top two spots and advanced to the final round. U.S. District Court Judge Michael Simon presided, with instructor Nancy Casciato (Portland Community College), attorney Ed Piper (Angeli Law Group), and teacher Karen Rouse (West Sylvan Middle School) joining him as attorney and witness judges. West Linn won the tournament and will advance to the National Competition on May 6-9, 2020 in Evansville, Indiana.
St. Mary’s School (Medford) took home third place, and St. Mary’s Academy (Portland) came in fourth. Rep. Janeen Sollman (Hillsboro) was on hand to congratulate all the teams and hand out the award plaques.
This year also saw Oregon’s first Mock Trial Courtroom Artist competition. Six students participated in the regional competition and four came to State. Their art will be judged by community artists and posted to the Classroom Law Project website later this month. The winner will join the West Linn team to participate in the Courtroom Artist Nationals.
Congratulations to all the teams who competed (78 in regionals, 18 at state) and to the teachers, volunteer coaches, and parents whose support is critical to the competition’s success. Thanks also to the hundreds of volunteer presiding, attorney, and witness judges throughout Oregon without whom the program would not be possible.
Mock Trial is both a classroom strategy and an extracurricular competition that high school students have loved for decades. Using a mock court case, students play the roles of attorneys, witnesses, and court officers while learning the lasting skills of public speaking, teamwork, research, collaboration, civil and criminal legal concepts, and civic engagement. It is a way to bring the law alive for students and to give them a voice in what otherwise might seem a very distant judicial system. This year’s mock criminal case focused on the music industry, social media, fire safety, and so much more!
For more information on the competition, contact Jessica Gallagher, Senior Program Manager and State Mock Trial Coordinator.