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VOLUNTEER ATTORNEY COACHES AND JUDGES NEEDED FOR VIRTUAL HIGH SCHOOL MOCK TRIAL COMPETITION

The New Jersey State Bar Foundation is hosting its annual Vincent J. Apruzzese High School Mock Trial competition this year with a modified format. In light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the competition will proceed virtually via Zoom for the second season in a row. As a result, volunteering to coach or judge is even more convenient than it has been in the past.

Once again, Nicole McDonough, Esq. of Archer & Greiner P.C. and John McDermott, Esq. of Harwood Lloyd are serving as co-coordinators of the Bergen County competition. We are writing to request your participation in the competition as an attorney-coach or judge.

The High School Mock Trial competition begins at the County level throughout the state in January 2022.  Winners of our Bergen County competition will move on to compete at the Regional level against other county champions in New Jersey to crown the State Champion of the Vincent J. Apruzzese High School Mock Trial competition.  In this competition, students will portray the roles of attorneys and witnesses at trial with this year’s fact pattern accessible here:  https://njsbf.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/2021-2022-NJSBF-Mock-Trial-Workbook.pdf

For volunteer attorney-coaches – Volunteer attorney-coaches will serve as consultants to the participating school assigned, working directly with the teacher-coach on an as-needed basis.  Attorney coaches can meet with their assigned team virtually and should plan to meet with them at least once per week between now and when the competition begins on January 10, 2022.  Ideally, the attorney coach will also Zoom into trials to watch and provide feedback to their assigned team.  Volunteer attorney-coaches will receive 6 New Jersey CLE credits for their service. See Part VII of the Mock Trial Workbook (linked above), page 34, for additional guidance regarding the role of volunteer attorney-coaches.

Please contact John via email (JMcdermott@harwoodlloyd.com) if you are interested and available to serve as a volunteer attorney-coach for a Bergen County team, and one will be assigned to you.

For volunteer judges – As in past years, each trial in our county will have a two-judge panel.  We are currently in need of judges for the following dates and times:

  • Preliminary Round 1 – January 10, 2022, at 4:30 p.m. or 5:30 p.m.;
  • Preliminary Round 2 – January 13, 2022, at 4:30 p.m. or 5:30 p.m.; and
  • Quarterfinal Round (limited openings available) – January 18, 2022, at 5:00 p.m.

Judges will receive 2 New Jersey CLE credits for each trial judged, up to a maximum of 6 CLE credits (for three trials judged).  Any legal professional may serve as a judge this season (i.e., sitting judges, practicing attorneys, law clerks, and/or paralegals).  As such, please do not hesitate to forward this request for judges to anyone in your office who may be interested in participating this season.  See Part VIII of the Mock Trial Workbook (linked above), pages 34-35, for additional guidance regarding the role of volunteer judges in the competition.

Please contact Nicole via email (nmcdonough@archerlaw.com) if you are interested and available to judge in any one (or more) of the five judging slots.  If you have a co-judge with whom you would like to judge, please let us know and we will accommodate the request.

If you are concerned about the coordination of the Zoom aspect of the season, have no fear!  Together, the Bergen County Bar Foundation and New Jersey State Bar Foundation have retained the services of a Zoom expert, Suzanne Christensen, who will handle all technical aspects of the trials in Bergen County. As such, as a judge, you will not be required to handle the coordination of the Zoom functionality of your trial.  Simply log on from the comfort of your office (or home!) to help make this competition a success.

We hope you will join us to make this competition an enjoyable one for the high school students in Bergen County.

Thank you!

Nicole McDonough

John McDermott