Mt. Vernon Register-News

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August 30, 2013

MVTHS resurrects mock trial program

MT. VERNON – Mt. Vernon Township High School officials are seeking help from the local law community to develop a new competitive mock trial program at the school.

MVTHS had a similar program in the past, but it has not been active for at least seven years.

But now educators want to revive the program to give those students interested in a law career the chance to put their skills to the test.

“You need those students that are critical thinkers, that are good public speakers, that can think through logically a case,” said Julie Hayes, MVTHS business instructor and mock trial sponsor. “If that’s the field you want to go into, you know fairly early that that’s what you want to do. And this is going to solidify that decision.”

The new proposed mock trial program is now being developed by Hayes and Robert Knutson, director of the MVTHS Career Technical Education Department. They hope to launch the effort in the next few weeks.

But before they do, they would like help from local lawyers, judges, paralegals, and clerks to advise them on how best to structure the program. The local law community may also be able to provide monetary assistance, Hayes said.

“I’m sure there are a lot of attorneys here in town that probably did this type of thing in college and law school,” Hayes said. “We want as much local support as possible.”

The mock trial team will be available this year as an extra-curricular program at MVTHS.

Many of the participants will likely come from Hayes’ Business Law class, but the voluntary program will be open to other students as well. Business Law is a Career Technical Education class in the MVTHS Business Department. It currently has about 90 students.

Hayes said juniors or seniors with strong public speaking skills will be ideal for the new team, but sophomores may be able to compete as well.

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