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Starting a Mock Trial Program

Mock Trial Home >  How Do I Start a Mock Trial Program? 

How Do I Start A Mock Trial?  

It's easy to bring the mock trial program to your school. All you need is a teacher sponsor and a minimum of nine students who want to learn about the American legal system. You will also need time. The competition requires participants to practice roles, learn about legal concepts and create persuasive arguments. Please view our message board to view tips from current mock trial students.

County Coordinator

Each county has a county coordinator who is responsible for coordinating the mock trial program for that county. The coordinator establishes trial dates and locations, modifies CRF’s competition rules and procedures, and recruits judges and attorneys to score and preside over trials. If your county does not currently have a coordinator, it is possible for you to participate in a neighboring county's competition. Please view and contact your county coordinator for further information.

Teacher Sponsor

The teacher-sponsor is the official Mock Trial contact person receiving all correspondence from CRF or your county coordinator. The teacher also acts as the team coordinator and is responsible for organizing meetings and transportation to and from the competition. The teacher can also coach the team in trial strategy and legal argumentation.

Attorney Coach

Although not mandatory, most mock trial teams find it useful to have an attorney coach. The attorney coach advises the students on general trial techniques and procedures as well as on specific strategies for the case.

The Team

Teams of students prepare and present the trial from the perspectives of both the prosecution and the defense. Mock Trial team members play different roles, including trial attorneys, pretrial motion attorneys, witnesses, clerks, and bailiffs. Some schools offer the Mock Trial program as a class while others offer the program as an extra-curricular activity. Each team should have the following:

  • 8-25 students (from the same school)
  • 1 pretrial attorney for the defense, 1 pretrial attorney for the prosecution (senior division only). Pretrial attorneys cannot participate as trial attorneys during the same trial but can participate as a witness.
  • 3 trial attorneys for the prosecution (maximum)
  • 3 trial attorneys for the defense (maximum)
  • 4 witnesses for the prosecution
  • 4 witnesses for the defense
  • 1 clerk (participates with the prosecution team)
  • 1 bailiff (participates with the defense team)
  • Alternates (listed on the Team Roster/Code of Ethics Form) are included in the 25-student maximum.
  • 3 courtroom artists or journalists (maximum). These are optional contests and students participaing are not included in the 25-student maximum. 


Courtroom Art and Journalism Contest

The Courtroom Artist and Journalism contests are companion programs to the Mock Trial. During the Mock Trial competition, students have the opportunity to sketch a courtroom scene or write an article reporting on the trial as it unfolds. For the county competition, students must be affiliated with a participating Mock Trial team and attend the same school. Please check with your county coordinator to see if the program is offered in your county.