Program Overview

The Massachusetts Bar Association’s Mock Trial Program offers high school students, from across the state, an opportunity to test their skills as lawyers and witnesses in a simulated courtroom competition. Throughout the competition, students learn about the fundamentals of the American judicial system and how it can impact their lives. 

The Competition

Every September, high schools from across Massachusetts register to compete. The tournament officially starts in January and runs through the Mock Trials Finals in March. 

  1. Schools are divided into 32 geographic regions and compete in three preliminary rounds. The team with the greatest percentage of wins in each region advances. If two or more teams within a geographic region have the same percentage of wins, tiebreaker contests follow. 
  2. Thirty-two regional winners then compete against one another. The matches and trials will be assigned at random. On the same day, the 16 winners from the regionals compete by random draw. 
  3. The “Elite Eight” and “Final Four” are then held on the same day.
  4. The State Finals are held in March. 
  5. The state champion — Team Massachusetts — competes for the national title.

Competition Benefits

The Mock Trial Program benefits high school participants in many ways. The overall purpose of the tournament is to provide an educational benefit, including:

  1. Furthering students’ understanding of the law, court procedures, civil liberties and our legal system
  2. Increasing students’ proficiency in basic life skills, such as listening, speaking, reading and reasoning
  3. Developing students’ advocacy skills, regardless of which side of the case is being represented and irrespective of the party with which students most identify
  4. Promoting better communication and cooperation between teachers, students, the schools and the legal profession
  5. Heightening students’ consciousness of law-related professions and the academic studies that lead to those professions

Trial Locations

The Mock Trial competition consists of six trial rounds at different trial locations. As your team advances, trials take place in more central locations throughout the state.

  • Preliminary rounds: Trials take place in your geographic region on three separate days during the three weeks of preliminary trials.
  • “Regionals” and “Sweet 16” competitions: Central location on the same day.
  • “Elite Eight” and “Final Four” competitions: Central location on the same day.
  • State Finals: The final competition takes place in Boston.

Tournament Fees

There is a $150 cost to register your high school for this competition. Additional costs can include team transportation to competitions, and purchasing copies of the orientation and training videos.

Questions? Contact Mock Trial Central at mocktrial@massbar.org or (617) 338-0570.