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Julia R. Masterman High School Advances to State Mock Trial Championship Tournament

HARRISBURG (March 18, 2010) - Julia R. Masterman High School is one of the 12 Pennsylvania high school teams advancing to the 27th Annual Pennsylvania Bar Association Statewide Mock Trial Competition championship tournament, Friday, March 26, and Saturday, March 27, at the Dauphin County Courthouse in Harrisburg. The winning team of the state competition will represent Pennsylvania in the National High School Mock Trial Championship to be hosted by the Pennsylvania Bar Association, May 6 - 9, in Philadelphia.

The Julia R. Masterman High School Mock Trial Team is composed of Lindsey Aragon, Max Dugan, Kim Grinberg, Kristen Lau, Gabby Loredo, Marcus Mundy, Brian Murray, Samantha Napierkowski and Huizhong Wu. The teacher coach is Brent Gray. The attorney advisor is Crystal M. Fritsch.

The Julia R. Masterman High School Mock Trial won the PBA Statewide Mock Trial Competition in 1999.

This year, 339 teams from 284 high schools competed in district and regional levels of Pennsylvania's mock trial competition in hopes of gaining one of the 12 spots at the statewide competition. Pennsylvania's competition is one of the largest in the nation.

"To make it to the state championship level of competition, the students have clearly demonstrated excellent communication and analytical skills and the ability to work together as a team," said Timothy S. Burns of Johnstown, chair of the Pennsylvania Bar Association Young Lawyers Division, which organizes and oversees the event. "We congratulate the students who, with the support of their teacher and lawyer advisors, have risen to the top level of this year's competition."

All 12 teams will compete in two quarterfinal rounds from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. on March 26. The four winning teams of the quarterfinal rounds will advance to the semifinal round at 8:30 a.m. on March 27. The state championship round will take place at 11 a.m. on March 27 with Joanne Epps, dean, Temple University Beasley School of Law, serving as presiding judge.

This year's hypothetical trial case focuses on the murder of a financial analyst employed by a Philadelphia investment firm.

During the competition, eight-member student teams are given the opportunity to argue both sides of the case in an actual courtroom before a judge. The students, who play the roles of lawyers, witnesses, plaintiffs and defendants, are assisted by teacher and lawyer coaches in preparing for competition. Volunteer lawyers and community leaders serve as jurors in the trials. The juries determine the winners in each trial based on the teams' abilities to prepare their cases, present arguments and follow court rules.

Drexel University is the proud partner of the PBA's statewide mock trial program and is the leadership sponsor of the 2010 National High School Mock Trial Championship. Co-chairs of the state Mock Trial Executive Committee are Ryan Blazure of Kingston and Traci L. Naugle of Altoona.

The Pennsylvania Cable Network will record the final round of the competition for airing statewide on April 9 at 7 p.m., April 10 at 10 p.m. and April 11 at 3 p.m. The Pennsylvania Bar Foundation, the charitable affiliate of the Pennsylvania Bar Association, is providing funding support for the broadcast. Also, DVDs of the final round will be available for purchase from the network's Web site.

For more information about the Pennsylvania Bar Association Statewide Mock Trial Competition, visit the PBA Web site at http://www.pabar.org.

Founded in 1895, the Pennsylvania Bar Association strives to promote justice, professional excellence and respect for the law; improve public understanding of the legal system; facilitate access to legal services; and serve the 29,000 lawyers who are members of the association.

Source: Pennsylvania Bar Association, 100 South Street, Harrisburg, PA 17108