The role of MBA volunteer attorneys and judges

More than 2,300 volunteer hours per year are donated by Massachusetts judges and attorneys

The Mock Trial Program depends on the generous support of hundreds of volunteers. The MBA works in collaboration with the Administrative Office of the Trial Court. Trials take place in District Courts across the commonwealth beginning in late January, where actual District Court judges preside over many cases. Judges' secretaries and clerk magistrates devoted significant time in helping to schedule trials and secure judges when necessary.

Role of a mock trial judge

With nearly 200 trials being held over the course of six weeks, there is an ongoing demand for attorneys with trial experience to judge a case or two. Judging involves a minimal time commitment — only the time it takes you to familiarize yourself with the case, bench memorandum and the official mock trial rules and the actual two-hour trial. As previously mentioned, trials are held in courthouses throughout the state, so it is likely one will be convenient for you.

Role of an attorney coach

The preparation phase of the program is intended to be a cooperative effort of students, teacher-coach and attorney-coach. Attorney-coaches help students understand general trial practices and the sequence of events in a trial, listen to students' approach to the assigned case, discuss general strategies as well as raising key questions regarding trial enactment, and discuss the realities of the courtroom situation, that is, that each judge will conduct the trial differently.

While the competition does not begin until February, most schools wish to begin preparing for their trials in early November. Attorney-coaches will work out the details of meeting times/places with their team. If you are not sure whether your local high school is involved in the program and you want to get them involved, you may want to contact them directly. All teams must be registered by early October.

If you have questions, comments, concerns, or would like to sign up as a coach or judge, call the Mock Trial staff at (617) 338-0570 or e-mail Mock Trial.

Click to return to main Public and Community Services page and browse other programs.

©2014 Massachusetts Bar Association