Indiana Bar Foundation launches mock trial diversity program

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The Indiana Bar Foundation has launched a diversity initiative designed to remove financial barriers that can prevent high school students from participating in mock trial programs.

Presented by Krieg DeVault and sponsored by Barnes & Thornburg, Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath, Ice Miller, Plews Shadley Racher & Braun and the Lumina Foundation, the diversity initiative also provides students with legal advisers and mentors. Sponsoring organizations have committed more than $40,000 to the program, while law firms have also agreed to donate time to mentorship.

“There is a vital need to expand the mock trial program in minority and low-income high schools in Indiana,” Charles Dunlap, president of the Indiana Bar Foundation, said in a Monday statement. “We hope this initiative will serve as a pipeline to increase diversity in the legal profession for years to come.”

Starting a new high school mock trial team costs about $4,200, the IBF said in a news release. The financial support offered through the diversity initiative will subsidize registration fees, teacher stipends, professional development training, and student expenses such as travel, food and technology.

Sponsorships are still available. More information available here.

The diversity initiative comes as the bar foundation prepares to host the 2021 National High School Mock Trial Championship May 13-15. The championships will be hosted virtually from Evansville and will take place online via Zoom. More than 600 students, teachers and legal advisers nationwide will participate.

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