For individuals who have not grown up knowing many lawyers, the images of lawyers arguing cases before judges and juries on television shows and in movies creates an indelible impression about what it means to be a lawyer. But, as most practicing lawyers are all too keenly aware, the portrayals of lawyers in the media and the reality of the legal profession often do not line up. Consequently, establishing programs that provide access to the legal profession in a nurturing environment is essential for developing a pipeline of students from diverse backgrounds who are well-informed about the legal profession. This is not only true for high school students but also for recently admitted attorneys who have left the mostly theoretical world of law school and are now thrust into the world as practicing attorneys.
One of the best ways to give students and recently admitted attorneys this firsthand experience is through mock trial and trial advocacy programs. But running a successful trial skills competition takes a high level of commitment and a lot of hard work by all parties involved. Two programs across the nation that have taken up this challenge are the State Bar of Nevada’s program geared toward high school students and the Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis’ (BAMSL) Mock Trial Program for recently admitted attorneys.