Program Coordinator: Tim Kalgreen (firstname.lastname@example.org; 614-485-3515)
Combine middle school students' love of argument with a love of good literature. Middle School Mock Trial cases are literature-based, with cases constructed from books most commonly read in the middle grades. Students learn first-hand about the law, court procedures, and the judicial system while also building critical 21st century skills.
Middle School Mock Trial cases are based on popular literature, written by teams of teachers and lawyers. Middle school students act as witnesses and attorneys to argue cases involving their favorite characters. The program was designed with Ohio’s Learning Standards for social studies and English/language arts in mind, and is ideal for interdisciplinary teaching. Students read and analyze witness statements drawn from the characters in the books. Students then work collaboratively to develop arguments for both sides and develop strategies to question the witnesses.
Middle School Mock Trial has cases based on books commonly read at the middle school level. OCLRE chooses one case to be the featured case at the State Showcase.
"Mock Trial teaches students so much more than the legal process. They develop teamwork strategies, critical thinking skills, and so much more. The sense of accomplishment is overwhelming after they complete a trial.” ~ Amy Huber, Ridgeview Middle School
“This is a wonderful opportunity for students to learn about the legal system and to find their voices.” ~ Christine Spinner, St. Hilary School
“Middle School Mock Trial benefits the students by improving their speaking skills and helping students overcome the fear of public speaking. It encourages students to think outside the box and dive into subject matter that is not always familiar to them.” ~ Vicky Potter, Danville Middle School
“The growth you will see in the children is well worth it!” ~Mehgan Lucas, Trellis Academy
“It is a great, self-motivated chance for students to focus on presentation skills.” ~ Drew Farrell, Genoa Middle School
“It’s a fun, unique way to expose kids to the law. It involves public speaking and thinking on your feet. I would encourage teachers to try it!” ~ Lisa Koo, Shalom Christian Academy
Mock Trial Cases
OCLRE Mock Trial cases are not scripted plays. Instead, students are to read a case summary, trial briefs, and witness statements, and put together a coherent argument for their side of the case using the testimonial and physical evidence provided.
OCLRE offers 11 cases based on books commonly read at the Middle School level. Any of these cases can be used in the classroom as a complement to when educators might teach the book as part of class.
OCLRE rotates one case each year to be the featured State Showcase piece. If you plan on attending the Showcase, make sure you purchase the featured case for that year.
To order this year's case or any of our other Middle School Mock Trial cases Case Material Order Form:
- 2018 State Showcase Piece - Rhode Island v. Charlotte Doyle, based on The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi
- British Crown v. Johnny Tremain, based on Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes
- The Community v. Jaden, based on The Giver by Lois Lowry
- State of Mississippi v. T.J. Avery, based on Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred Taylor
- State of Ohio v. Frankie Hunter, based on Lord of the Flies by William Golding
- Benjamin et al. v. Napoleon et al., based on Animal Farm by George Orwell
- State of Ohio v. John Cameron Butler, based on The Light in the Forest by Conrad Richter
- State of Ohio v. Philip Malloy, based on Nothing but the Truth by Avi
- State of California v. George Milton, based on Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
- Rhode Island v. C. Doyle, based on True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi
- State of Ohio v. Fred Smith, based on Bloodstain by Christopher Rowan
- Oklahoma v. J. Case, based on The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
An additional case, The People v. Dr. Gimesby Roylott, based on The Adventure of the Speckled Band by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is available as a free download. This can give your students the opportunity to practice a whole or parts of a mock trial before diving into a larger case.
Case Materials Cost
2 cases (each)
3+ cases (each)
**Plus shipping and handling**
Middle School Mock Trial Showcase
Give your students a chance to show what they know! Students are evaluated by attorneys and judges, giving them an opportunity to showcase their knowledge in a realistic way. The showcase is open to all Ohio middle school teams.
Registration Deadline - Wednesday, February 28, 2018
Withdrawal Deadline - Friday, March 9, 2018 – no refunds after this date
Mock Trial Showcase Day 1 - Thursday, April 5, 2018
Mock Trial Showcase Day 2 – Friday, April 6, 2018
Mock Trial Showcase Day 3 – Thursday, April 19, 2018
Mock Trial Showcase Day 4 – Friday, April 20, 2018
- Mock Trial Middle School Registration
- Team Roster
- Behavior Standard Form
- 2017-18 Photo Release Form
- Team Drop Form
State Showcase Team Registration - OCLRE Member: $80/team; Non-Member: $125/team
Registration is limited to 2 teams per school unless space is available after the registration deadline.
Teams can choose to participate in any of the four days based on schedule and availability. Teams will be placed on a first-come, first-served basis.
Note: Team registrations for Friday, April 20, have reached capacity. Please contact Tim Kalgreen at email@example.com to be included on a waitlist.
All forms must be submitted by the registration deadline of February 28, 2018.
Ohio Mock Trial Resources
This resource, with special thanks to Clermont County Common Pleas Court Mediator & Senior Magistrate Harold Paddock for developing and sharing, is perfect if you are getting lost trying to navigate the Mock trial evidence "maze".
The American Bar Association has created a guide to putting on Mock Trials. It has helpful information about the components of a trial, advise for students and sample trials.
Make Your Case is a courtroom trial simulation in which students control the action as they experience a real courtroom setting. Make Your Case was developed by Scholastic in conjunction with the American Board of Trial Advocates. The American Justice webpages also contain additional civic education resources, including lesson plans, printables and more.
The US Federal Courts have numerous educational outreach materials on their website. The resources serve to teach students about the Constitution and the Federal Court System through the use of interactive court simulations, constitution resources and various lesson plans on current topics including the nomination and confirmation process of Supreme Court Justices
The New Hampshire Bar Association has a website rich with Mock Trial resources. This site contains links to Mock Trial practice cases for all grade levels as well as links to several useful Mock Trial guides.
The National High School Mock Trial Championship Board in partnership with Great Rivers technology presents the National Mock Trial Practicum Publication. The Publication enhances the Mock Trial experience for students, teachers, coaches and judges by providing an interactive area that will help students better understand the trial process and learning tools for new and experienced advisors. Access to the site is available for $100 per team (up to 8 students) and $10 for each additional student, renewable each year. For a demonstration or more information, please contact Stacy Beyer, Instructional Technology Consultant, at 563-589-1270 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mock Trial Student Tips Videos
The Foundation of the International Association of Defense Counsel (IADC), has a YouTube channel with short videos offering mock trial tips for students. The videos include helpful suggestions for conducting direct and cross examination, opening statements and closing arguments.
How do I get started?
If you or your school/organization are new to Ohio Mock Trial, welcome! First, you need the case file… The case is released annually at the Law & Citizenship Conference. Conference attendees are the first to receive their copy of the case and are also able to attend many mock trial related sessions, including the case presentation by members of the case writing committee and OCLRE staff. In addition to the case file, conference attendees hear from top-notch speakers in the fields of civics, social studies, law, and government, and leave with 30+ lessons and resources. *Additionally, if you register for one or both days of the Law & Citizenship Conference, you can attend a FREE mock trial professional development session the day prior to the conference. This professional development session is intended for those who are new to mock trial, or who would like a refresher.
I am unable to attend the Law & Citizenship Conference but want to get the Mock Trial case. What do I do?!
Take a deep breath and relax. You can still order the case! Complete this form and the case file will be sent to you. Please note that cases will not be sent until after the Law & Citizenship Conference in September.
I’ve got my case materials. Is that all? Am I ready to compete?
NO. Not yet. Team registration is a separate cost and registration form. Most team advisors wait until closer to the registration deadline, usually mid-December, to make sure that student interest hasn’t waned and to be certain of the number of teams they will field. A team consists of 5 – 11 students.
My students and I are struggling with start-up. Who can help us?
OCLRE has teacher mentors for all of its programs, including mock trial. Teacher mentors have expressed willingness to help other teachers who are new to a program, to answer questions from the teacher perspective or offer advice. Click Here to access a list of mentors. You can also contact the Mock Trial Program Coordinator Ryan Suskey, email@example.com.
How much time should my students and I spend on practice and preparation?
The short and simple answer is: it varies. Some teams are classroom-based and therefore spend class time each week preparing. Other teams are extra-curricular and meet one or more times per week, before or after school or on weekends. Others may only have time to meet a few times per month. There is no right or wrong answer. Figure out what works best for you, your fellow advisors (if any), and your students. The case is released in September and the first competition date is at the end of January, so at most teams have about four months to prepare.
I don’t have a legal advisor. Do I need one?
OCLRE does not require that mock trial teams have a legal advisor, however, most teachers appreciate assistance from volunteer attorneys, who help students understand case law, courtroom procedure and etiquette. Often times a mock trial legal advisor is the parent of a student or a local attorney who volunteers in his/her community. The time commitment for volunteer legal advisors varies and is worked out between the teacher/team advisor and attorney. If you are unable to find a legal advisor, contact Ryan Suskey, firstname.lastname@example.org, and OCLRE may be able to put you in contact with an interested local attorney.
When and where do my students compete?
District Competition (the first round of competition) takes place in January. To the greatest extent possible, teams are assigned to a competition site closest to their school. Competition site placement is based on a number of factors, including teams’ ability to travel and courtroom availability at local competition sites. Teams that win both trials (having played both P and D) at the District level advance to Regional Competition in February. Teams that win both trials at Regional Competition will advance to State Competition, in March in Columbus. The state champion team is eligible to compete in the National Mock Trial Competition.
I have a question about, or found a discrepancy in, the facts of the case and/or a witness statement. What do I do?
OCLRE will post errata on the Mock Trial page every two weeks beginning in October and going through January. Errata questions must be submitted by the teacher or legal advisor, not students, and should be directed to email@example.com.
It’s competition day and there is inclement weather in my part of the state/school is delayed/school is closed, etc. What do I do?
If your team cannot make it to the competition site, please immediately notify the district/regional competition coordinator where you are scheduled to compete (available in January) as soon as possible. You should also notify OCLRE by contacting Ryan Suskey, Rsuskey@oclre.org, (614) 485-3506. Teams are expected to follow school district policy and/or common sense when making the decision whether or not to travel in inclement weather. Most importantly: safety should come first! The scheduling of make-up competitions is at the discretion of OCLRE and the affected site coordinators (please see page 10 of the case manual for make-up competition policy).
My school doesn’t have a mock trial team, but I want to get involved. What can I do?
Are you a high school student? Start by talking to a teacher – it could be a social studies teacher, the drama teacher, or even the principal. If you and four or more interested students are willing to take on the challenge, the teacher may be willing, too. There is some expense involved, so make sure to factor that into consideration. If you get buy-in from school personnel, refer the person to the top of this list of FAQs for next steps. If a student can’t convince a teacher in his/her school, please contact OCLRE. On occasion, there are non-school affiliated community teams or other opportunities to get involved.
I am having trouble with the online order form and am getting frustrated. What should I do?
Don’t worry – OCLRE is here to help! Call us at (614) 485-3510 or toll-free at (877) 485-3510 and ask for Cathy. She can guide you through problems and make sure you get what you need. Additionally, Cathy can answer questions about usernames and passwords, as well as payment options. OCLRE endeavors to continually improve our online order and registration processes to benefit our constituents and your feedback help us to do so.
What are the payment options for online orders and registrations? Do I have to use a credit card?
OCLRE offers several payment options. You may pay with a credit card, request to be invoiced, or enter a purchase order (PO) number. If the PO number is not known at the time an order is placed, you may select the purchase order option and then enter “pending” for the number.
How do I know if my order/registration has been completed successfully?
When orders and registrations have been submitted successfully to OCLRE, an automatic email confirmation is generated and should arrive in your inbox within minutes. If you do not receive a confirmation email within an hour, please contact OCLRE.
A few helpful hints for proper form completion:
- Follow the process all the way through, using the “Next” and “Submit” buttons.
- Complete all required (*) fields or you will not be able to proceed/finish
- Complete the payment portion of the form, even if you are not paying by credit card.
- Other options that you can select include requesting an invoice or entering a PO number (or indicate that a PO is in process and the number is “pending”)