Scoring at the 2017 Middle School Mock Trial Competition

Folks who know me well know that I love working with students. This weekend, after finishing up my last final exam of my first semester of law school, a friend and I drove to Durham to volunteer with the North Carolina Bar Foundation. It was great to be back, at least near, home.

I was a scoring judge for the Justice Iredell Middle School Mock Trial Tournament Finals. If you are unfamiliar with Mock Trial, teams are given a set of facts and then take sides arguing their case. The whole thing runs like a real trial: opening and closing statements, questioning of witnesses, objections, and a "judge" presides over the entire proceeding.

My role as a scoring judge was to listen as 6th, 7th, and 8th graders acted as attorneys and witnesses making their case, then score these teams based upon how well they did. I was interested because, though I'm a member of the Wake Forest Trial Bar, I've never done any mock trial work myself.

I was blown away by these kids. They delivered their arguments with confidence and expertise beyond many of my classmates (and perhaps even myself!) These students would object then cite the rule the opponent had violated from memory. The delivered their remarks without notes, and often without visible nerves. You could hear a pin drop from the gallery of parents listening intently.

All of this is just to say how impressed and fortunate I was to be able to serve. The attorney and teacher coaches, as well as the parents, deserve a great deal of thanks. But it was the students themselves who really shined beyond my expectations.

Thanks for reading,

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