Mock Appeal Program Visits Nine Courthouses Across the Commonwealth

Over the first two weeks of June, twenty-four mock appeal teams of Massachusetts middle school students presented their First Amendment cases in front of a panel of judges and attorneys as well as friends and family.

Grappling with the complexities of a case addressing a controversial speaker brought to a high school campus, student attorneys delivered oral arguments and fielded panelists’ questions – a difficult task for even the most experienced lawyer. In many cases, the panels were divided on whether to side with the petitioner or the respondent, a telling sign that both sides were balanced in their presentations and theory of the case.

“The time that the legal mentors and judges spend with the middle schoolers over the semester is invaluable. I never tire of seeing first time student attorneys make their case in front of the bench,” said Mock Appeal Program Manager Luke Matys. “Thanks to the courthouses and staff who partnered with Discovering Justice to open their doors to the volunteers, students, educators, and families.”

Working with courthouse staff, Discovering Justice hosted ten mock with more than 600 attendees at appeals at nine courthouses across the Commonwealth. Thanks to the Moakley Courthouse, the Lowell Justice Center, the Donohue Federal Building and US Courthouse in Worcester, the Taunton Juvenile Court, the Framingham District Court, the Springfield Federal Courthouse, the Brockton District Court, the New Bedford Superior Court, and the Brookline District Court for supporting these events.

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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.