SPRINGFIELD (Heartland Newsfeed) — Teams from 41 high schools throughout the state will participate in the 36th Annual Illinois State Bar Association (ISBA) High School Mock Trial Invitational on March 24 and 25 at the University of Illinois College of Law in Champaign.
The top eight teams will compete in the final round on March 25 for the state championship. The winner will represent Illinois at the National High School Mock Trial Championship in Reno, Nevada.
“The Invitational provides high school students throughout the state with a unique opportunity to learn about the justice system and participate in a friendly competition with their peers to put what they have learned into practice. The students do not only begin to develop legal skills, they also develop public speaking skills, confidence, and professionalism. These skills will ultimately help students achieve their higher education and career goals,” says Kateah McMasters, of Peoria, chair of the ISBA’s Standing Committee on Law Related Education for the Public, which administers the program.
Each team tries both sides – plaintiff and defense – of a hypothetical case developed by the ISBA Committee. This year’s case is Grant v Smith, a civil suit alleging the use of excessive force during an arrest.
Students will assume the roles of attorneys and witnesses, and a panel of Illinois lawyers and judges, along with members of the ISBA Law Related Education Committee, will evaluate and score the students’ performances. The students must also take a written test about the issues of the case and basic legal principles.
The High School Mock Trial Invitational has been conducted each year since 1982 by the ISBA to provide Illinois high school students an interesting and challenging way to gain insight into the American judicial system. The 2018 event is co-administered by the Illinois Trial Team of the University of Illinois undergraduate program, and co-sponsored by Illinois LEARN, Inc.
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