MBA Mock Trial
Since high school Mock Trial competitions began in Nashville in 1983, MBA has been actively involved, winning 14 City and four State Championships and placing at the National Finals, including a Fourth Place finish in 2017. For the past twenty-five years MBA alumnus Mr. Wade Cowan, a local attorney, has directed our program and will do so again this school year.
What is Mock Trial?
Participating schools take a hypothetical case supplied each year by the Young Lawyers Division of the Tennessee Bar Association and try it against one another after learning the simplified rules of evidence upon which the competition is based. Students and coaches determine who will take the various roles (attorneys, witnesses) involved in the particular case. Additionally, students will learn how to “play” witness roles, and the attorneys will learn how to analyze the case and develop the theory of the case (either civil or criminal), direct and cross examination techniques, opening and closings. Coaches will aid in providing knowledge from their own experiences in court and directing students in acquiring requisite information for maximum effectiveness such as dress, deportment in the courtroom, treatment of opponents, as well as making objections and application of the rules of evidence.
In mid to late November, all Tennessee schools will receive information packets containing this year’s hypothetical case, the simplified rules of evidence, and the applicable Statutes. MBA also participates in an independent mock trial competition, the Empire competition in Atlanta, in September. The team begins preparing for the Empire competition during the summer.
Except for the final days before the regional competition, practices will be held in the Lowry Building. These usually are scheduled for about one to one and a half hours beginning at either 5:30 or 6 p.m. depending upon schedules of the attorneys.
Mock Trial is open to students in grades 9-12.
Frequently Asked Questions:
- What is the time commitment? In the beginning practices will usually be held twice a week with additional time dedicated for working with student attorneys. Witnesses require somewhat less time, but are crucial for the success of the team. Coaches and students become frustrated when students fail to meet the practice schedule.
- How many students are on a team? MBA almost fields two teams with separate coaches for each team. Each team consists of 6-8 students. (more if there is interest)
- When is the citywide competition held? While no specific dates have been released yet, it is usually in February with the state finals coming on March 22-23. (These dates will be announced at the time the packets arrive or when available.)
- What MBA teacher acts as the coordinator with Wade Cowan? Mr. Stewart.
- How can I see if I would like being on Mock Trial and when may I ask questions? Come to the organizational meeting when it is announced, or speak with Mr. Stewart about the program.