Bar Association of San Francisco Member Benefits: Publications
Mock Trial Coaches Help Students Increase Diversity Pipeline
By Jayne Salinger Diversity Pipeline Programs Director
The 2012 high school mock trial season saw the emergence of a new champion; a new team contributing to building a diversity pipeline; and a student putting a city before self.
Mock Trial is a program administered by BASF’s diversity department and Barristers Club Mock Trial committee, chaired by Kimberly Taylor, of Carr McClellan Ingersoll Thompson & Horn.
In February, eight teams competed in San Francisco Superior Court for the honor of representing the city in the state competition. Led by more than 50 attorney coaches from the legal community, the participating high schools were Lowell, School of the Arts (SOTA), Mission, Balboa, Academy of Arts & Sciences, Lincoln, Thurgood Marshall and College Track, and a community-based organization from the Bayview Hunters Point district.
This was the first year for the Academy of Arts and Sciences (AAS)—a newly-formed high school where nearly 80% of the students qualify for reduced or free lunch. AAS is also the school serviced by BASF’s diversity pipeline program, School-To-College, from which more than half of the mock trial team was recruited.
For the past three years, the SOTA team was the reigning champion of this competition. They advanced again this year to the final round and faced Lowell High School. SOTA fell short, which paved the way for the Lowell team to represent San Francisco at the state level.
Lowell placed 6th overall in a competition involving 32 teams from around California. “It was a privilege for Lowell to represent San Francisco at the State Competition,” said Lowell team coach, Doris Cheng of Walkup, Melodia, Kelly & Schoenberger. “They reflected exemplary civility and ethical advocacy, and held their own among the most experienced teams in the state. We are grateful for the amazing experience that BASF provided these young students. Their horizons were expanded through different judges, lawyers and students from all over the state”
The volunteer coaches of the mock trial program work tirelessly preparing their students to stand up in court. But they also instill a more important message: win or lose, do it with dignity.
Havel Weidner is a senior on the SOTA team and despite his disappointment, saw the bigger picture when he addressed the Lowell team saying, “We all support you. You are now San Francisco’s team.”
Thanks to all the volunteers! View a complete list of the mock trial coaches.