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Norristown High Students Take on Peers in State Mock Trial Competition

The competition features 32 teams of students from high schools all over the county.

According to a release issued by the (MBA), students from will join over 30 teams from other Montgomery County high schools to compete for the district crown in Pennsylvania's mock trial program at the .

Now in its 28th year, Pennsylvania’s statewide Mock Trial Competition (sponsored by MBA’s Young Lawyers Section and Pennsylvania Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Division) includes over 280 high schools from across the Commonwealth, making it one of the largest programs of its kind in the nation.

According to Seth D. Wilson, Esq., chair of the MBA’s 2012 Young Lawyers Section, over 100 Montgomery County judges, teachers and lawyers will volunteer their time to prepare teams 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 with the regional competition concluding 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 in Harrisburg on March 30 and 31. 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 and Paul W. Kaufman, both 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. For district competition dates, times and results, go to the Montgomery Bar Association’s website. Those interested in volunteering as jurors in the upcoming weeks should contact Nancy Hagner at 610-279-9660, Ext. 208.

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