Once again, San Francisco County’s Mock Trial competition has come to a thrilling end.
For the 2017-2018 season, eight teams representing Lowell High School, Phillip & Sala Burton High School, Balboa High School, Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts, Thurgood Marshall Academic High School, College Track, Abraham Lincoln High School and Raoul Wallenberg Traditional High School assumed the prosecution and defense of Casey Davidson in the fictitious town of Acorn.
Students received the case packet in the summer and spent months preparing to assume the roles of both the prosecution and defense, culminating in the 2018 Mock Trial Competition in February. Students prepared not only to assume the roles of the attorneys for the prosecution and defense, but also to serve as key witnesses, experts and even the bailiff and clerk of the court.
As one of the Justice & Diversity Center’s diversity pipeline programs, the San Francisco County Mock Trial program targets underserved and underrepresented high school students at San Francisco’s public high schools, providing them an opportunity develop critical life skills and exposure to courtroom procedures and argumentation. As a former coach, I have personally witnessed all of the tremendous effort, dedication, and work these students put into each role.
Run entirely on contributions and the passion and commitment of many volunteer attorney coaches, this program epitomizes what makes me most proud and hopeful about our profession. Coaches range from in-house practitioners to law firm partners from some of the most prestigious firms in the Bay Area.
This year’s Mock Trial Committee was headed by Marie Ma, Gap, Inc., along with myself, as well as returning member Lauren Charneski, Dannis Woliver Kelley. We were happy to add Christopher Fernandes, Hearsay Systems, Inc., to the committee this year. Additionally, the program was fortunate to have Jareem Gunter, former JDC Diversity Pipeline Program Director, back to support the program this season.
I am proud of the committee’s effort to once again deliver a high-quality competition for the students. This year’s competition was extremely close—the margin of victory of many rounds was only a few points. Many of the volunteer scorers praised the quality of argumentation and passion exhibited by the students, which is a reflection of the amount of effort and time invested by the respective attorney coaches of each team as well. We are always amazed at the number of volunteers who return each year to score each round. In the end, Lowell High School and School of the Arts advanced to compete in the championship round.
The All-Star Championship Round took place on February 22, 2018 at the Federal Courthouse and was once again presided over by Judge William H. Orrick.
After a thrilling pre-trial motion, and an energized trial, the verdict was in. Four preliminary rounds, nearly 60 volunteer attorney scorers, 16 preliminary round presiding judges, and an all-star championship round later, there’s only one last thing to say: Congratulations to Lowell High School, our 2018 San Francisco Mock Trial Competition Champions! And yes, we’re already preparing for next season.
Are you interested in supporting the Mock Trial program, but are unable to commit to coaching a team? Please consider making a contribution today by visiting http://jdc.sfbar.org and learn more about how our Diversity Pipeline Programs are preparing today’s youth for the future.
About the author:
Tina Yim is a partner at the law firm of Imai, Tadlock, Keeney & Cordery, a litigation firm located in San Francisco. She received her B.A. from University of Washington and her J.D. from University of San Francisco School of Law. Ms. Yim and her firm represent various business, manufacturers, contractors, and suppliers in personal injury, toxic torts, and product liability cases.