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South Bend school wins national competition; 2013 event to be in Indiana

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For the second time in three years, South Bend’s John Adams High School won the annual National High School Mock Trial Championship.

In the competition, students are given a fictitious case to try before a jury. Each team plays the roles of attorneys and witnesses, performing all functions of a jury trial in 2.5 hours. This year’s case involved a complex land dispute between an American Indian tribe and a uranium mining company.

The competition included teams from 48 states and territories, and teams from South Korea and Australia. John Adams High School has placed in the top 10 teams nationally nine times in the past 10 years, earning widespread recognition for the strength of its mock trial program. At this year’s competition in Phoenix May 5 - 7, the national organization chose Indiana as the site of the 2013 competition.

Ann Marie Waldron, attorney at Indianapolis firm Robinson Wolenty & Young, is the host coordinator for the 2013 tournament. “We look forward to showcasing our program to the students from across the U.S. and other countries and are planning to ‘wow’ them in 2013,” she said.

Indiana’s mock trial program is run entirely by volunteers like Waldron. The South Bend team is coached by John Scanlan, professor emeritus for Indiana University Maurer School of Law; attorneys Erin Linder and Andrew Jones; drama coach Lucas Burkett; and teacher Heath Weaver. The volunteer board includes Penn High School Principal Steven Hope; Waldron; Susan Roberts, partner with the Lafayette firm Stuart & Branigin and state coordinator for the Indiana High School Mock Trial competition; Scott Keller of Anderson Agostino & Keller in South Bend; and Peter Horvath, student services program director at Notre Dame Law School.

Waldron said about 400 judges and attorney volunteers will be needed to staff the national competition in 2013.

The national mock trial championship began in 1984 in Des Moines, Iowa, with teams from Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska and Wisconsin participating. After the success of the tournament in Iowa, more states became interested in participating, and the tournament became billed as an "All-State" tournament.

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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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