More Than 300 Pennsylvania High School Teams Participate in 2017 PBA Statewide Mock Trial Competition

(This news release was updated on Jan. 20 to reflect the current number of competing teams.) 

HARRISBURG (Jan. 5, 2017) — Beginning this month, 294 teams from 252 high schools across Pennsylvania will be competing in district and regional levels of the Statewide Mock Trial Competition sponsored by the Pennsylvania Bar Association Young Lawyers Division.

Pennsylvania’s mock trial program, now in its 34th year, is one of the largest in the nation.

“Although it is called a competition, we view the mock trial program as a great academic opportunity for high school students, even those who do not plan future careers in the law,” said Joel C. Seelye of Altoona, chair of the association’s Young Lawyers Division. “Critical thinking, effective presentation skills and dispute resolution tactics are just some the ingredients needed to be successful in the mock trial program, and these are skills that will be helpful in many workplaces.”

Seelye extended his gratitude to the teachers, lawyers and volunteers participating in the program.

“We appreciate the enthusiastic support of hundreds of teachers and legal and community volunteers because they truly are the ones that make this program possible,” Seelye said. “It is through their efforts that this competition is transformed into a valuable learning experience for students.”

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 coaches and lawyer advisors in preparing for competition. Lawyers and community leaders serve as jurors for the mock trials. The juries determine the winners in each trial based on the teams’ abilities to prepare their cases, present arguments and follow court rules.

The district and regional levels of the competition will continue throughout February and March. At the conclusion of the local competitions, 14 high school mock trial teams will advance to the Pennsylvania Bar Association Statewide Mock Trial Championships, March 24 and 25, in Harrisburg.  

The winning team of the state championship will represent Pennsylvania in the national mock trial finals to be held May 11 – 13 in Hartford, Connecticut.

The Pennsylvania Bar Foundation, the charitable affiliate of the Pennsylvania Bar Association, is providing funding support for the statewide competition.

The co-chairs of the Mock Trial Executive Committee are Jonathan D. Koltash of Harrisburg and Jennifer Menichini of Scranton.

This year’s hypothetical case is a criminal trial to determine whether the defendant is guilt of committing an act of arson that destroyed an advanced automotive plant.

The case was written by Jonathan A. Grode of Philadelphia, Paul W. Kaufman of Philadelphia, Koltash and Stanford University student Talia Charme-Zane, an alumna of the Pennsylvania mock trial program and former captain of the Central High School team in Philadelphia.

For more information about the 2017 Pennsylvania Bar Association Statewide Mock Trial Championships and to read this year’s case, go to the Young Lawyers Division’s section of the PBA website at Interested volunteers should contact Maria Engles of the Pennsylvania Bar Association at 800-932-0311, extension 2223.

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 27,000 lawyers who are members of the association.

Teams participating in the 2017 Statewide Mock Trial Competition are from the following schools:

REGION 1 – Allegheny County
Baldwin High School
Barak Obama Academy of International Studies
Bethel Park High School
Chartiers Valley High School
Eden Christian Academy
Elizabeth Forward High School
Fox Chapel Area High School
Gateway High School (two teams)
McKeesport Area High School
Montour High School
North Allegheny High School (two teams)
Pine-Richland High School
Pittsburgh CAPA
Pittsburgh Science and Technology Academy
Quaker Valley High School
Saint Joseph High School (two teams)
Seton LaSalle High School
Sewickley Academy
Shaler Area High School
South Fayette High School
South Park High School
Springdale Jr./Sr. High School
Taylor Allderdice High School
Thomas Jefferson High School
Upper St. Clair High School
Vincentian Academy
West Allegheny Senior High School
West Mifflin High School

REGION 2 – Northwest
District 1: (Armstrong, Beaver, Butler and Lawrence counties)
Ambridge Area High School
Beaver Area High School (three teams)
Blackhawk High School
Butler Area High School (two teams)
Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic High School
Central Valley High School
Freeport Area High School
Hopewell Senior High School
Moniteau High School
Neshannock High School
New Brighton Area High School
New Castle High School
Quigley Catholic High School
Riverside High School
Seneca Valley High School (two teams)
Wilmington Area High School

District 2: (Clarion, Crawford, Erie, Forest, Mercer, Venango and Warren counties)
Conneaut Area Senior High School
Cranberry Area Jr/Sr High School
Fort LeBoeuf High School
McDowell High School (two teams)
Meadville Area Senior High School (two teams)
Northwest Pennsylvania Collegiate Academy
Northwestern High School (two teams)
Sheffield Area Middle High School
Warren Area High School
Youngsville High School

REGION 3 – Southwest 
District 1: (Indiana, Somerset and Westmoreland counties)
Derry Area High School
Franklin Regional Senior High School
Greensburg Salem High School
Kiski Area High School
Penn-Trafford High School
Southmoreland High School
Valley Jr./Sr. High School 

District 2: (Greene, Fayette and Washington counties)
Bentworth High School
Canon-McMillan High School
Charleroi Area High School
Fort Cherry/Burgettstown High Schools
Frazier High School
Peters Township High School
Riggold High School
Trinity High School (two teams)

District 3: (Bedford, Blair, Cambria, Fulton, Huntingdon and Mifflin counties)
Altoona Area High School (two teams)
Bedford High School
Bellwood-Antis High School
Bishop McCort High School
Central Cambria High School
Central High School (two teams)
Connellsville Area High School
Everett Area High School
Forest Hills High School
Hollidaysburg Area High School
Huntingdon Area High School
Tyrone Area High School (two teams)
Windber Area High School

REGION 4 – Northcentral
District 1: (Centre, Clearfield, Clinton and Jefferson counties)
Bald Eagle Area High School
Bellfonte Area High School
Brockway Area Jr./Sr. High School
Central Mountain High School
DuBois Area High School
DuBois Central Catholic High School
Saint Joseph’s Catholic Academy
State College Area High School

District 2: (Union, Columbia, Lycoming, Montour, Northumberland, Snyder and Tioga counties)
Montoursville Area High School
Wellsboro Area High School 

District 3:  (Cameron, Elk, McKean and Potter counties)
Coudersport Jr./Sr. High School
Galeton Area High School
Kane Area High School
Northern Potter High School
Oswayo Valley High School
Otto-Eldred High School
Smethport Area High School

REGION 5 – East Central
District 1: (Berks, Lehigh and Northampton counties)
Allentown Central Catholic High School
Antietam Middle-Senior High School
Bethlehem Catholic High School
Boyertown Area Senior High School
Brandywine Heights High School
Easton Area High School
Emmaus High School
Exeter Township Senior High School
Fleetwood Area High School
Governor Mifflin High School
Nazareth Area High School
Northampton High School
Notre Dame High School
Parkland High School
Pen Argyl Area High School
Saucon Valley High School
Schuylkill Valley High School
Tulpehocken Area High School
Wilson High School

District 2: (Luzerne and Schuylkill counties)
Blue Mountain High School
Dallas High School
Hanover Area Jr./Sr. High School
Hazleton Area High School
Holy Redeemer High School
Marion Catholic High School
MMI Preparatory School
Pittston Area Senior High School
Tunkhannock Area High School
Wyoming Seminary College Preparatory School

REGION 6 – Southcentral
District 1: (Cumberland, Dauphin, Franklin, Juniata, Lebanon and Perry counties)
Big Spring High School (two teams)
Bishop McDevitt High School
Central Dauphin High School
Cumberland Valley Christian School
Cumberland Valley High School (two teams)
Milton Hershey School
SciTech High School
Trinity High School

District 2: (Adams and York counties)
Dover Area High School
Kennard-Dale High School
Northern High School
Red Lion Area High School
Spring Grove High School (three teams)
West York High School
York Catholic High School 

District 3: (Lancaster County)
Cocalico High School
Conestoga Valley High School
J.P. McCaskey High School (two teams)
Lancaster Catholic High School
Lancaster Country Day School
Manheim Township High School (two teams)
Penn Manor High School
Solanco High School

District 1: (Chester County)
B. Reed Henderson High School
Bayard Rustin High School (two teams)
Bishop Shanahan High School
Conestoga High School
Devon Preparatory School
Downingtown Area High School West
Great Valley High School
Kennett High School (two teams)
Malvern Preparatory School
PA Leadership Charter School
Villa Maria Academy High School
West Chester East High School 

District 2: (Delaware County)
Academy of Notre Dame de Namur
Archbishop Carroll High School
Cardinal O’Hara High School
Delaware County Christian School (two teams)
Marple Newtown High School
Merion Mercy Academy (two teams)
Monsignor Bonner/Archbishop Prendergast High School
Penncrest High School
Penn Wood High School (two teams)
Ridley High School (two teams)
Springfield High School
Strath Haven High School
The Episcopal Academy (three teams)
Upper Darby High School

District 3: (Bucks County)
Archbishop Wood High School
Bensalem High School
Bristol High School
Central Bucks High School East
Central Bucks High School South (two teams)
Central Bucks High School West
Council Rock High School North
Council Rock High School South (two teams)
Holicong Middle School
Holy Ghost Preparatory School (two teams)
Lenape Middle School
New Hope-Solebury High School
Pennridge High School
Villa Joseph Marie High School

REGION 8 – Philadelphia
Abraham Lincoln High School
Archbishop Ryan High School
Boys Latin of Philadelphia Charter School
Central High School (two teams)
Constitution High School
Esperanza Academy Cheater High School
Franklin Learning Center
Germantown Friends School (three teams)
Girard Academic Music Program
Girard College High School (two teams)
Imhotep Institute Charter High School
Roman Catholic High School (three teams)
Saint Joseph’s Preparatory School (two teams)
Science Leadership Academy Beeber
Springside Chestnut Hill Academy
Tacony Academy Charter School
The Mathematics, Civics and Sciences Charter School
William Penn Charter School (two teams)

REGION 9 – Montgomery County
Abington Senior High School
Friends Central School (two teams)
Germantown Academy
Gwynedd Mercy Academy High School
Harriton High School
Hatboro-Horsham High School
Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
Jenkintown High School (two teams)
Lower Merion High School
Lower Moreland High School (two teams)
Methacton High School
Mount Saint Joseph Academy
North Penn High School
Plymouth Whitemarsh High School (two teams)
Saint Basil Academy
Souderton Area High School
The Baldwin School
The Haverford School (two teams)
The Mesivta High School of Greater Philadelphia
Upper Dublin High School
Wissahickon High School (two teams)

REGION 10 – Northeast
District 1: (Bradford, Lackawanna, Sullivan, Susquehanna, Wayne and Wyoming counties)
Abington Heights High School
Carbondale Area Jr./Sr. High School
Dunmore High School
Holy Cross High School
Lakeland High School
North Pocono High School
Scranton High School
Scranton Preparatory School
Valley View High School
West Scranton High School
Western Wayne High School

District 2: (Carbon, Monroe and Pike counties)
East Stroudsburg High School South
Notre Dame Jr./Sr. High School
Palmerton High School
Pleasant Valley High School
Pocono Mountain East High School
Pocono Mountain West High School



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