The Middle School Mock Trial Program is a hands-on exercise in learning about due process. It is a team activity program that is most often conducted as an extracurricular activity, but can also incorporated into law, forensics or public speaking classes. Private schools, home school groups and community groups are welcome and encouraged to participate. Students representing attorneys and witnesses for both sides of a fictional case role play that case being tried in court. The students are guided in their case through support of their teacher and attorney coaches. The program teaches the legal process and trial procedure.
Through participation in the mock trial program, students will increase basic skills such as listening, speaking,writing, reading and problem analysis. Each participating school enters a team sponsored by a teacher volunteer that is ideally composed of between six and 16 students, but can have more students filling alternate roles.Teams try a fictional case against other teams at regional competitions in the fall of each year. The top two teams from each regional competition advance to the state championship in December.
The South Carolina Bar Law Related Education (LRE) Division offers training for new teacher and attorney coaches every summer in preparation for the fall competition.The trainings are not mandatory for teams to be eligible to compete, but they do assist in preparation for a strong and organized team. At the training, teachers are provided with an outline of middle school mock trial guidelines, hands-on activities, videos, mock trial classroom instructional materials and a question/answer session with attorney coaches and mock trial teachers.