Youth Programs

Lawyers with Class

This program matches Maine judges and lawyers to schools for classroom visits for Job Fairs and other requests. Program coordinators match volunteer lawyers and judges from all levels of Maine's court system to students in grades 5-12. For more information contact:

5th Grade Mock Trials

Through direct and cross-examination of witnesses and rulings from the bench, they learn about the workings of the law first-hand, and since there is no script for jury deliberations, verdicts are never known beforehand. The MSBA believes these mock trials help participating children develop critical thinking and public speaking skills, as well as build self-confidence.

In 2003, a radically tightened state judiciary budget prevented the fifth grade mock trials from being held in actual courtrooms. The resulting shift to classrooms, however, has made this program more flexible, allowing teachers to schedule mock trials to fit their curricula, as well as making it possible for many more schools to participate in the program. Download Mock Trial materials.

For more information on the Lawyers with Class or 5th Grade Mock Trial programs, contact Kathryn Holub.

High School Mock Trials

Each fall, with the Friends of Mock Trial and private donations, the MSBA sponsors, administers and organizes the Maine State High School Mock Trial Competition, which usually attracts at least two dozen teams totaling more than 400 students statewide. Each September, teams receive a fictional criminal or civil case (selected because it is relevant to the lives of today's high school students) and consisting of a set of undisputed facts, six witness statements (three for each side), and legal authorities. Assisted by volunteer lawyer-coaches, the teams try their cases in actual courtrooms, usually before a real judge and a panel of two attorney-evaluators. The trials are not scripted. Teams win or lose based on their presentations, not the merits of the case. The popular program introduces students to the judicial system in a unique way, inculcates democratic values, and requires students to develop analytic skills and confidence in public-speaking. For more information, contact Mock Trial Competition Coordinator Amanda Doherty.