This past spring, Madison hosted the National High School Mock Trial Championship for the second time in the event's 30-year history. Run by the State Bar of Wisconsin, the Wisconsin High School Mock Trial Tournament allows students to argue fake cases in real courtrooms.
In addition to becoming more familiar with the legal system, students gain critical thinking, public speaking, advocacy, teamwork, and character skills.
The finalists (Washington and Sourth Carolina) are announced at the Wisconsin State Capitol during the 2014 national chamionship. Photo: National High School Mock Trial Championship.
Wisconsin was one of the competition's five founding states in 1984.
Schools that want to join the tradition can form a team of six high school students, up to six alternates, a teacher coach, and an attorney coach, and register their schools for the 2015 competition. Although final entries aren't due until December 1, 2014, there is a Coaches Conference on October 20.
While the hard work of schools like Rhinelander High School may make them hard to beat (as alluded to in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel), the final results are, of course, anything but certain — and as the organizers point out, the real purpose is learning and participation.