2018-19 San Diego County High School Mock Trial Competition Information 

Welcome to the 2018-2019 Competition

Welcome to the 2018-2019 season of the San Diego County High School Mock Trial Competition. For those of you who are new to the program, the California Mock Trial Program is a statewide academic competition in which high school students compete at the county, state, and national level.


This year, participation is expected to include almost 600 students in San Diego County and over 8,000 students statewide. The trial itself is a simulation of a criminal case, in which students portray each of the principals in the array of courtroom participants. Student teams study a hypothetical criminal case, conduct legal research, and receive guidance from volunteer attorney coaches in courtroom procedures and trial preparation. Students participate as lawyers, witnesses, court clerks, and bailiffs, thus acquiring a working knowledge of our judicial system. The Competition encourages young people to develop their analytical abilities and communication skills while gaining increased self-confidence.

What is Required to Compete?

In order to participate in the 2018-2019 Mock Trial Competition, each high school team must do the following:  

  1. Have a teacher-sponsor attend the Teacher-Sponsor Orientation (which occurred on September 20, 25, and October 3rd.)
  2. Register your mock trial team by October 12th.
  3. If you have a pre-existing relationship with an attorney coach or coaches and they have confirmed they wish to coach your team, ensure that the attorney coach attends the mandatory Attorney Coach Orientation on October 3rd in person or by phone.  If you do not have an attorney coach or coaches and need help getting one, mark the appropriate box on the school registration form.
  4. Have your attorney coach or coaches register with the competition before November 30th.
  5. Pay the fee of $375 no later than November 30th and submit all necessary forms.
  6. Monitor the San Diego County Mock Trial website frequently for errata and additional instructions and tips.
  7. Practice, practice, practice! 
  8. Have fun!

High School Student Team

Teams of students prepare and present the mock trial from the perspectives of both the prosecution and the defense. Team members play different roles, including trial attorneys, pre-trial motion attorneys, witnesses, clerks, and bailiffs. Some schools may offer the Program as a class or school club activity, while others offer it as a voluntary activity.  The San Diego County High School Mock Trial Competition offers four rounds of trials, so that each school team competes twice as the prosecution and twice as the defense. 

Each competing high school team must have the following:

  • 8 to 25 students (from the same high school)
  • 1 defense pre-trial attorney / 1 prosecution pre-trial attorney  
    • Pre-trial attorneys cannot participate as trial attorneys during the same trial, but can participate as witnesses.
  • 3 trial attorneys for the prosecution (maximum)
  • 3 trial attorneys for the defense (maximum)
  • 4 witnesses for the prosecution
  • 4 witnesses for the defense
  • 1 clerk (participates with the prosecution team)
  • 1 bailiff (participates with the defense team)

The Teacher Sponsor

The teacher sponsor is the official Mock Trial Program contact person receiving all correspondence from the Schools Coordinator. The teacher-sponsor also acts as the team coordinator and is responsible for organizing meetings and transportation for students to and from the Mock Trial Competition. The teacher-sponsor may also coach the team in trial strategy and legal argumentation.  Each high school team must have a teacher sponsor in order to participate in the Mock Trial Program and Competition.

How Does a Team Get an Attorney Coach?

Although not mandatory, most mock trial teams find it useful to have attorney coaches. Attorney coaches advise the students on general trial techniques and procedures as well as on specific strategies for the case.  Attorney coaches participate on a volunteer basis and can include parents or other relatives of high school student team members.

Once a team's registration form is submitted, the San Diego County Bar Association, if requested, will assist in finding an attorney coach/coaches for each high school team. The teacher-sponsor and the attorney coaches will be given contact information for each other so that they can coordinate a meeting and team practice schedule for each high school team.  It is up to the teacher-sponsor to work with and involve the attorney coach in team meetings and practices.  If the assigned attorney coach is not a good match for whatever reason, or if your school does not need assistance from an assigned attorney coach, please immediately notify us at sdmocktrial@gmail.com

Mock Trial Awards

At the conclusion of the Competition, awards are presented to:

  • Outstanding Pre-Trial Attorney (Prosecution)
  • Outstanding Pre-Trial Attorney (Defense)
  • Outstanding Trial Attorney (Prosecution)
  • Outstanding Trial Attorney (Defense)
  • Outstanding Witness #1, Witness #2, Witness #3, Witness #4 (Prosecution)
  • Outstanding Witness #1, Witness #2, Witness #3, Witness #4 (Defense)
  • Outstanding Bailiff 
  • Outstanding Clerk