HARRISBURG (March 23, 2022) — Fourteen Pennsylvania high schools are advancing to the 39th Annual Pennsylvania Bar Association (PBA) Statewide High School Mock Trial Competition finals, which will be held virtually March 24, 25, 26 and 29. The competition is coordinated and sponsored by the PBA Young Lawyers Division.
This year, 247 teams from 203 high schools competed in district and regional levels of Pennsylvania's mock trial competition in hopes of gaining one of the spots at the statewide competition that was held virtually. Pennsylvania’s competition is one of the largest in the nation.
The winning team of the state championship will represent Pennsylvania in the national mock trial finals to be held virtually, May 5-7.
“It’s exciting to see these students realize the rewards of the hard work and long hours of preparation they have invested in this competition,” said PBA Young Lawyers Division Chair Paul D. Edger. “The teachers, legal professionals and community volunteers also deserve recognition for helping to mentor, challenge and encourage these students throughout the process. We applaud the efforts of everyone who played a role in making this year’s mock trial possible, and we wish all teams the best of luck in moving to the next round of the competition.”
All 14 teams will participate in round one of competition at 4:30 p.m. on March 24. Round two will take place at 4:30 p.m. on March 25. Teams that have won their first two rounds of competition will advance to round three a 9 a.m. on March 26. If needed, a round four playoff will take place at 1 p.m. the same day. The two highest-ranking teams will advance to the final round at 5 p.m. on March 29. Judge Giovanni O. Campbell, Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas, will serve as the presiding judge.
This year’s hypothetical case, The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Edi Arcaro, is a criminal trial to determine whether the defendant is guilty of murdering a man of great wealth who was a former critical player in the horse-racing industry with an extensive list of connections.
The case was written by Jonathan A. Grode and Paul W. Kaufman, both of Philadelphia. Grode and Kaufman have been involved in the drafting of these materials for the past eight years.
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 teams participating in this year’s state finals are:
- Eden Christian Academy, Allegheny County
- Mount Lebanon High School, Allegheny County
- Butler High School, Butler County
- Northwestern High School, Erie County
- Altoona Area High School, Blair County
- State College Area High School, Centre County
- Fleetwood High School, Berks County
- Cumberland Valley High School, Cumberland County
- Central Bucks East High School, Bucks County
- Merion Mercy Academy, Delaware County
- Saint Joseph’s Preparatory School, Philadelphia County
- Lower Moreland High School, Montgomery County
- The Haverford School, Montgomery County
- Abington Heights High School, Lackawanna County
For more information about the PBA Statewide High School Mock Trial Competition, visit the PBA website at https://www.pabar.org/site/For-the-Public/Mock-Trial-Competition.
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 of legal services; and serve the lawyer members of the state’s largest organized bar association.