In-Person Tours Return to the Moakley Courthouse

After more than a year of virtual working and learning, Discovering Justice staff and volunteer docents will lead in-person tours at the Moakley Courthouse.

Discovering Justice’s tour has been revised and updated, incorporating new ideas first introduced in our Virtual Tour earlier this year around the civic values represented in the Moakley Courthouse. 

Discovering Justice is now accepting requests for tour groups of up to 15 people. Masks are still required at this time in the building. To book a tour for your Family, student group, organization or friends, email Henry Schunk at with the date and number of guests, Henry or one of the docents will be happy to show you around the history, symbols, and architecture of the Moakley Courthouse. 

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Annual Gala Brings Together the Discovering Justice Community

Celebrating the inspirational role that mentors play in its program, Discovering Justice’s Annual Gala Mentoring the Next Generation: Pathways to Civic Engagement brought together more than 225 to raise vital funds for the organization’s programs.

 Highlighting the night was Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey receiving Discovering Justice’s 2021 Champion of Justice. Healey talked about the importance of civic engagement and the importance of getting students involved in our democracy.

The Gala, the largest fundraising event for the organization, raised more than $440,000, exceeding its goal by 10%, through sponsorships, ticket sales, donations, and a silent auction. Thanks to the 55 sponsors including our Presenting sponsor Vertex Pharmaceuticals, Champions of Democracy WilmerHale, Goodwin, and Ropes & Gray.

At the event, Executive Director Matt Wilson previewed Discovering Justice’s strategic plan and the organization’s priorities over the next three years. The Plan will be published and released to supporters this summer.

At the Gala, current and past Discovering Justice mentors and mentees shared their stories on how mentoring provides the confidence, vision, and wisdom needed for success.

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Mock Appeal Program Fields Record Number of Teams

Over the course of three days in the last week of May, 190 students from 22 schools presented their mock appeal cases to sets of judicial panelists before family members, friends, school administrators, and teachers. 

The Mock Appeal was a culmination of an 11 week program in which students wrestled with the intricacies and challenges of the first amendment rights, diving into cases concerning the freedom of speech and the freedom of the press.

“The Mock Appeal program goes to the core of the Discovering Justice mission providing students the opportunities to examine the workings of the justice system, examine the ideals of justice, and prepare them to engage in our democracy,” said Mock Appeal Coordinator Luke Matys. 

This spring’s program was the largest ever, drawing students from Boston, Lawrence, Danvers, Rehoboth, Somerville, Lowell, Worcester, Framingham, Brookline, and Waltham.

The students delivered convincing, detailed arguments that often left the judicial panels impressed and, in many cases, divided on whether to side with the petitioner or the respondent,” said Matt Wilson, Discovering Justice’s Executive Director. “That is a telling sign that both sides delivered impressive presentations and demonstrated excellent knowledge of the theory underlying the case. 

129 legal mentors from various law firms and organizations across the Commonwealth made the Mock Appeal program possible this semester. Many of these mentors are new to the program this year, including teams from the Worcester Bar Association; Sugarman, Rogers, Barshak & Cohen, P.C.; Pyle Rome Ehrenberg PC; and Partridge Snow & Hahn LLP. 


The staff will be working over the summer to develop new cases for Discovering Justice’s Mock Trial Program in the Fall. With the addition of new schools this spring from Rehoboth, Framingham, and Danvers, the organization is looking to expand the number of teams participating in the fall.

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Kayla Nordman

Kayla Nordman believes strongly in expanding access to comprehensive civic education to provide the next generation with the resources they need to uphold and expand upon the values of American democracy and create a more equitable future. Before joining Discovering Justice, she worked as a Legislative Intern at the Massachusetts State House and as a Program Manager for the Massachusetts Center for Civic Education. Kayla graduated from Suffolk University with a BA in International Relations.