Overbrook High School of Philadelphia Wins State Mock Trial Championship

HARRISBURG (March 29, 2008) - Overbrook High School of Philadelphia today won the 2008 Pennsylvania Bar Association Statewide Mock Trial Championship.

Overbrook will represent Pennsylvania in the national mock trial finals, May 8-10 in Wilmington, Del.

The Overbrook High School mock trial team is composed of Sarah Brown, Kiersten Harris-Andrews, Jamal Hill, Cedric Ingram Jr., Jennifer Josiaste, Lakyra Stokes, Tamika Webb and Ian Wiley. The teacher coach is Philip Beauchemin. Josie Hyman is the lawyer advisor.

Overbrook High School teams also claimed state championships in 1997 and 2004.

Overbrook played defense and Salem Greensburg High School of Westmoreland County played plaintiff in the final round of competition today. Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice J. Michael Eakin presided.

Salem Greensburg High School also has a proud history in the state competition. Greensburg Salem mock trial teams won state titles in 2001, 2005, 2006 and 2007.

"Congratulations to the Overbrook High School students for demonstrating the excellent teamwork and strong communication and analytical skills needed to win the championship," said William J. Higgins, chair, Pennsylvania Bar Association Young Lawyers Division, which sponsors the competition. "We commend the all the teams across the state for their participation in this year's competition. We also applaud the hundreds of teachers and lawyers who generously gave their time, energy and expertise to coaching the students."

This year, 295 teams from 253 high schools competed in the district and regional levels of Pennsylvania's mock trial competition - one of the largest in the nation. Following the local competitions, 12 high school teams advanced to the state mock trial championships. All 12 teams competed in two quarterfinal rounds on Friday, March 29.

This year's case, which is used throughout the state in all district and state finals mock trial competitions, centered on a fictional case about an alleged kidnapping.

Through 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 coaches and attorney advisors 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.

Earlier today during the semifinal rounds, Overbrook won against Quigley Catholic High School of Beaver County and Greensburg Salem won against Devon Preparatory School of Chester County.

In addition to the four teams competing in today's semifinals, teams participating in the state championships included: Abington Heights High School from Lackawanna County, The Haverford School of Montgomery County, B. Reed Henderson High School from Chester County, J.R. Masterman High School of Philadelphia, Montoursville High School from Lycoming County, Wyoming Seminary High School from Luzerne County, Woodland Hills High School from Allegheny County and York Catholic of York County.

Expenses for the winning team's trip to the national finals in Wilmington will be funded by the Pennsylvania Bar Foundation.

Drexel University is the proud partner of the PBA's statewide mock trial program and is the leadership sponsor of the 2010 National Mock Trial Competition, which will be held in Philadelphia, May 6-8, 2010.

For more information on the 2008 Pennsylvania Bar Association Statewide Mock Trial Championships, visit the PBA Web site at http://www.pabar.org/public/yld.

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.