Ohio Mock Trial Returns in 2021, Virtually

Nov 1, 2020


The Ohio Mock Trial competition returns in January 2021, moved to a virtual platform in compliance with COVID-19pandemic guidelines. The action may take place online, but the enthusiasm of the hundreds of students who participate annually is stronger than ever. The Cincinnati Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Section is again sponsoring the presentation of this important opportunity for hands-on law-related education, and the Cincinnati Bar Foundation is once more fully endowing the competition. 

This year, the case up for debate addresses a prosecutors’ duty to disclose during plea negotiations. Here, an inmate claims the prosecutor violated their constitutional rights by knowingly withholding exculpatory evidence while negotiating the plea deal. The students are tasked with arguing whether Brady v. Maryland applies to plea negotiations. There will be no easy answer to this case. As high school students across the greater Cincinnati area are preparing to compete in this competition, we need the help of our legal community to provide guidance, feedback, and perspective…remotely!  

YLS is seeking for more than 100 volunteer lawyers for the 2021 Mock Trial Competition. Local attorneys give back to the community by sharing knowledge and enthusiasm for the practice of law as volunteer judges in the competition. Whether you are a seasoned volunteer or have no experience with the Mock Trial competition, your assistance is critical to the success of the program. 

For more than 30 years, Mock Trial has given students a practical introduction to the justice system, the Constitution, and the legal process by giving them the opportunity to participate in mock trials as either lawyers or witnesses. In the hour-long simulated trial, students present opening statements, cross-examine, are cross-examined, and more.  

The CBA will assist the Ohio Center for Law-Related Education (OCLRE) by recruiting local volunteer judges for the district and regional competitions. Attorneys who volunteer are vital to the process and will preside as judges over both rounds of competition. During the trial, judges observe, grade, and provide feedback on the performances of the students. The level of dedication and enthusiasm by the students is always impressive. Students truly appreciate the participation and thoughts of local attorneys. You can be part of this exciting opportunity to impact local high school students.


More than 350 students from approximately 22 area high schools participate each year. As co-chairs of YLS’s Mock Trial Committee, Chelsea Chalk and Jon Kelly encourage each of you to take this opportunity to volunteer, be involved, and support local students interested in the practice of law. 

The format has been adjusted for virtual consideration. The district competition will cover a span of four days: January 22, 23, 29, and 30. The regional competition will follow on February 19 and 20. (Times are to be announced.) Volunteers can choose any day that works for their schedule. The CBA will provide an optional training session on January 15, 2021 at 12 p.m. via Zoom, to provide familiarization with the case, the process, and to answer any questions about the competition. If you are interested in volunteering as a judge, please contact Jamie Shiverdecker at the Cincinnati Bar Association at 513-699-4013 or jshiverdecker@cincybar.org.


For more information on the 2021 case, please visit the OCLRE website at http://oclre.org/aws/OCLRE/pt/sp/mocktrial_highschool. If you have enjoyed judging in the past or wish to become even more engaged with a high school mock trial team, please consider becoming a legal advisor. Please contact the Ohio Center for Law Related Education at 614-485-3507 for more information.

We hope you will join us!

Chalk and Kelly are both attorneys with Dinsmore & Shohl and the YLS Mock Trial co-chairs.