Newton North High School Wins Mass. Bar Association’s Mock Trial State Championship
Tuesday, March 20, 2018
Newton North High School was today named State Champion of the Massachusetts Bar Association’s 2018 High School Mock Trial Program. Newton North prevailed against its in-town rival, Newton South High School, in a mock trial conducted in the House of Representatives Chamber at the Massachusetts State House. The state title is Newton North’s 11th since 1988, with their most recent prior championship coming in 2016.
Next up for Newton North is the National High School Mock Trial Championship in Reno, Nevada, May 10-12. A portion of their trip will be funded by a $2,500 donation from the Massachusetts Bar Association’s philanthropic partner, the Massachusetts Bar Foundation.
Started in 1985, the Massachusetts Bar Association’s Mock Trial Program began its 33rd year in January. More than 1,500 students at 133 high schools from around Massachusetts competed in the 2018 program, which placed high school teams from across the state in simulated courtroom situations where they assumed the roles of lawyers, defendants and witnesses in hypothetical cases.
This year, the teams were presented with a fictional civil case involving the death of a prominent man from an explosion. The dispute was over the enforceability and payout under a $5 million life insurance policy. Newton North, which played the role of the defense during the final, earned a unanimous victory from the judges in both the decision of the case and the overall scoring of the match.
The state championship was judged by a three-member panel (a presiding judge, and two scoring judges), similar to the process used at the national mock trial competition. This year’s judging panel included Hon. Mark D Mason, presiding justice, Massachusetts Superior Court; Hon. Kenneth V. Desmond Jr., Massachusetts Appeals Court; and Hon. Kathe M. Tuttman, Massachusetts Superior Court.
Hon. Thomas J. Barbar, a Massachusetts Probate and Family Court judge who also serves as MBA secretary, spoke to the students before the championship round commenced. “Neither school is a stranger to these finals, and both teams should be commended for their success this year,” Barbar said. “How appropriate that mock trial students find themselves in this historic and inspiring venue, where our laws are debated and created by our elected representatives — many of whom are lawyers themselves. Perhaps someday our participants here today will also become part of the Massachusetts legal community.”
The Mock Trial Program is administered by the Massachusetts Bar Association, with support from the Massachusetts Bar Foundation and Morrison Mahoney LLP. Nearly 140 lawyers across the state volunteered as coaches and judges this year.
Incorporated in 1911, the Massachusetts Bar Association is a non-profit organization that serves the legal profession and the public by promoting the administration of justice, legal education, professional excellence and respect for the law. The MBA represents a diverse group of attorneys, judges and legal professionals across the commonwealth.