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About the KBA YLS Mock Trial Competition
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Kansas High School Mock Trial Program

Kansas Bar Association and Young Lawyers Section

Kansas Bar Association

The KBA was founded in 1882 as a voluntary association dedicated to serving legal professionals in Kansas. The KBA advances law-related issues, encourages public understanding of the law, provides services and benefits to its members and promotes the effective administration of our justice system.

 

Young Lawyers Section

The KBA YLS is comprised of approximately 1,600 young lawyers. The YLS promotes mentorship opportunities, continuing legal education experience, community service projects and networking venues for lawyers who are new to the practice of law.

History and Background

In 1996, the KBA’s Public Committee, in cooperation with the Kansas Supreme Court, formed the Law and Citizenship Project to sponsor the first two Kansas mock trial competitions in 1996 and 1997. To encourage the development of the program, the Public Committee sought and received the assistance of the KBA YLS in 1997. Currently, the YLS is the primary organizer of the competition. Funding for the program is provided by the Kansas Bar Foundation, the Kansas District Judges’ Association and the generous financial support of several law firms, including Shook, Hardy & Bacon LLP.

Objectives

Mock trial is a law-focused program designed to provide high school students with an operational understanding of substantive and procedural legal issues and the judicial process. Mock trials involve preparing for and participating in simulated trials for which high school students prepare and practice. The program is a challenging and exciting learning experience that gives students first-hand knowledge of courtroom procedures. Mock trials provide students with a basic understanding of the legal mechanism through which society resolves many disputes. High school students develop useful questioning, critical thinking and oral advocacy skills, as well as significant insight into the area of law relevant to the case materials. The goal of mock trial is to promote better communication and cooperation between educational and legal communities and to inspire future advocates in a competitive and academic atmosphere.

The Competitions

Each fall, high schools create teams of at least six students and are provided with case materials. In the spring, all teams participate in one of two regional competitions in at least two rounds of competition, both prosecuting and defending the case. Each team consists of three student attorneys and three student witnesses.

 

This problem is a condensed version of a real-life court case. The case materials contain witness statements, which purposefully conflict, and a bare-bones compilation of applicable law. Panels of three individuals involved in the legal profession judge each round of the competition. Judges score the students on performance and rule on disputes and evidentiary objections.

 

The top teams at each of the two regional tournaments compete at the state tournament. The top Kansas team then travels to the national competition, this year in Indianapolis to represent Kansas in competition with other states. All expenses are paid for the team that is selected to attend the national competition!

Awards and Recognition

After the final rounds of competition at each of the regional tournaments, an awards ceremony is held to recognize outstanding students and teams, and to announce which teams that will go on to compete at the state tournament. Recognition for outstanding mock attorneys, outstanding student witnesses are awarded, in addition to team rankings that are also announced. All teams are encouraged to attend the awards ceremony to support the competitors.

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