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Bar News - November 9, 2007

Another View Regarding Mock Trial Support


Reprinted with permission from The Milford Cabinet of Sept. 13, 2007


As one of the first members of Milford High School’s Mock Trial Team in 1995-99, I was devastated to read your article and learn that the NH Bar Association is allowing this program to expire.  Mock Trial taught me skills that I used while I attended Stetson University College of Law, and those skills helped me graduate from law school with honors.  It pains me to think this program will not succeed. 


However, I take a different view when it comes to this program leaving schools.  I do not blame the NH Bar Association.  I totally understand what they go through year in and year out putting on this program.


In April, Stetson University College of Law hosted the National Championships for the Mock Trial Association (AMTA).  It was a three-day event with 64 colleges and universities participating.  I helped to coordinate the competition, and learned that it took over 250 volunteers and thousands of hours of pre-work to stage a Mock Trial championship.  No one realizes how much work goes on behind the scenes.  The cost is a whole other issue, and yes, it is expensive when you look at all the supplies that are needed—scoring sheets for each round, pens to keep score, refreshments and lunch for the volunteers who give up an entire Saturday or Sunday to judge, score or just run score sheets and other errands.  These are just a few of the costs not often recognized.


In fact, I think schools, government, and voters need to start putting more money and resources behind educational programs like Mock Trial, DECA, FBLA, and many others.


Many of the advisors for these educational programs are not paid stipends like all the coaches of high school athletics.  Ask yourself if we really need a middle school golf team with a paid coach.  Milford voters also approved a new football field and track that will cost millions; just imagine if half of that went to educational programs like Mock Trial.  We would not be talking about losing the program; we would be talking about how to make it better.


Michael C. Barbetta



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