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Indiana gets positive verdict from mock trial visitors

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Two teams from the West swept the 2013 National High School Mock Trial Championship, but Indianapolis and the Indiana legal community made the best impression.

For the first time in the 30-year history of the mock trial competition, Indiana hosted the national finals. Forty-eight teams from across the country tried a case in four separate rounds May 10 and 11, which were held in the Marion County City County Building. The championship was held in the Birch Bayh Federal Building and United States Courthouse.

“We had so many compliments,” Susan Roberts said, adding many called this the best organized and most smoothly run of all national mock trial competitions. “They were extremely impressed.”

Roberts, a Lafayette attorney, helped to coordinate the nearly three-year effort of planning and preparing for the national competition. She is president of  Indiana Mock Trial and serves as treasurer of the national mock trial board. She wrote the case, “The Wasp,” for the 2013 national championship. Indianapolis lawyer Ann Marie Waldron served as chair of the NHSMTC host planning committee.

The 2013 national mock trial champion was Albuquerque Academy from Albuquerque, N.M. This team was also crowned the champion in the 2012 national competition. Runner up was the team from La Reina High School in Thousand Oaks, Calif.

Neither Indiana team placed in the top 10. The team from Adams High School in South Bend placed 19th, and Valparaiso High School finished 22nd.

During their stay in the Circle City, the visiting students, judges, attorneys, teachers and parents were treated to outings at museums and sporting venues around the city.

“People loved our city,” Roberts said. “It was overwhelming how many people came up to me and said, ‘This is a fantastic city. We’re going to come back.’”

At the end of the two days, the students were given a souvenir booklet that included letters written to the mock trial participants from such dignitaries as United States Chief Justice John Roberts, Gov. Mike Pence, Indiana Chief Justice Brent Dickson and the deans of Indiana’s four law schools.

Also Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard issued a proclamation, making May 11 National High School Mock Trial Championship day in Indianapolis.

“To me it was very rewarding, and I was very happy,” Roberts said.
 

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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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