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.