Mock Trial Program

We are committed to providing meaningful volunteer opportunities for attorneys and judges who are interested in working with high school students. Please contact us to volunteer your skills and expertise.

Contra Costa County 2017:
The 36th Annual Contra Costa County
High School Mock Trial Needs You!

Mock Trial is an academic program in which schools compete at the county, state and national levels. The program allows students to acquire a working knowledge of our judicial system and encourages them to develop their analytical abilities and communication skills while gaining increased self-confidence.

Your expertise in a courtroom setting is needed to measure the efforts of budding young "Perry Masons." You sit in the jury box and score, or sit on the bench and judge, while students, acting as witnesses and attorneys, try an entire case in a timed exchange.

Students argue a pre-trial motion, direct and cross-examine witnesses, make objections and present an opening statement and closing argument. One school's prosecution team competes against another school's defense team. After the preliminary rounds, winning teams move forward and the eventual 1st Place team will represent our county at the state competition. This year we have 18 participating schools and WE NEED YOUR HELP!

Schedule for 2017 Contra Costa County High School Mock Trials:
February 7, 9, 14, 16 5:00-8:00 p.m. (Preliminary Rounds - Eight competitions each night)
February 21, 5:00-8:00 p.m. (Quarterfinals)
February 23, 5:00-8:00 p.m. (Semifinals)
February 28, 5:00-8:00 p.m. (Finals and Consolation round - Two competitions))

Where: Courtrooms in Martinez

How: Complete the Volunteer form and select a date(s) that works best for you. Fax it to the County Office of Education at (925) 942-3454 or email to:

Jonathan Lance

Download and fill out this application: Mock Trial Volunteer Application

Case materials and instructions will be mailed and emailed upon receipt of Volunteer form

If you have any questions, or are interested in volunteering for this program, please contact:

Jonathan Lance
Phone: (925) 942-3429


Anne Wolf
Phone: (925) 370-2540

MARTINEZ, Calif., January 12, 2017—Bay Area soon-to-be, practicing, and retired law professionals are needed to provide assistance to their future brethren at the upcoming 36th Annual Contra Costa County High School Mock Trial Program, held in the early evenings throughout the month of February, at the Martinez Court Rooms. Last year, 120 Bay Area practicing and retired attorneys and sworn judges, as well as third-year law students volunteered their time with the Mock Trials.

Coordinated by the Contra Costa County Office of Education (CCCOE), Mock Trial is an academic event provided for high school students. The hands-on educational program was created to help students acquire a working knowledge of our judicial system, develop analytical abilities and communication skills, and gain an understanding of their obligations and responsibilities as participating members of our society. This year's grabbed-from-the-local-and-national-headlines case, the People v. Awbrey, is a trial about human trafficking and false imprisonment. The pretrial issue involves the Fourth and Fifth Amendments, namely protection against illegal search and seizure and against self-incrimination.

"I encourage all my fellow law professionals to join us in serving as Mock Trial judges and attorney scorers," says Contra Costa County Presiding Judge Jill Fannin. “I have been volunteering with this program for over fifteen years. I’m continually impressed with the dedication demonstrated by all the teams that participate in this challenging academic event. Every volunteer will tell you that the professionalism and skill these high school students demonstrate in our courtrooms during Mock Trial, rival those they witnessed earlier in the day with the professionals.”

Teams of high school students work with teachers and volunteer coaches to prepare their version of the criminal case, from both the prosecution and defense perspectives.  Students assume the roles of trial attorneys, pre-trial motion attorneys, witnesses, clerks, bailiffs, artists, and court journalists. Mock Trial judges and attorneys score their performance and provide immediate feedback. Winning teams advance through seven rounds of competition. The county’s champion advances to the State finals. This year, there will be 18 Contra Costa County high school Mock Trial teams competing.

Volunteers will score two competing schools that argue the case in their assigned court. Each night, will begin with a 15-minute rules and regulations training, then the volunteers will go into their scheduled courtrooms to serve as Mock Trial judge and scorers.  The Mock Trials’ scorers are made up of Bay Area deputy district attorneys and deputy public defenders, as well as public-sector, private-practice, and corporate lawyers. In addition, seasoned law students are also welcome to participate. A practicing or retired judge or commissioner will preside over each trial, and also serves as one of the trial’s scorers.

The two highest-scoring teams will advance to the finals on Tuesday, February 24. The winning team will then represent Contra Costa County at the California State Mock Trial competition, held in Riverside, Calif., March 24-26. The California state finalist team will then compete in the National Mock Trial Competition, held May 11-13, Hartford, Connecticut.

In 1977, the Constitutional Rights Foundation (CRF) introduced the concept of mock trials to the Los Angeles schools. In 1980, the program expanded to the state level. The California Mock Trial Program currently involves more than 36 counties and over 8,000 student participants from more than 400 teams. Approximately 1,500 attorney volunteers serve as team coaches and scorers, and 500 Municipal, Superior, and Appellate Court judges preside over the trials.

Teams from the following 17 Contra Costa County high schools will be competing:
Acalanes (Lafayette), Alhambra (Martinez), California (San Ramon), Campolindo (Moraga), Clayton Valley Charter (Concord), De Anza High (Richmond), Deer Valley Law Academy (Antioch), El Cerrito (El Cerrito), Hercules Middle/High (Hercules), Heritage (Brentwood), Kennedy (Richmond), Las Lomas (Walnut Creek), Miramonte (Orinda), Monte Vista (Danville), Pinole Valley (Pinole), Richmond (Richmond), St. Patrick–St. Vincent (Vallejo).

back to top

Alameda County

The Mock Trial Competition is a national program through which students learn key concepts of our judicial system and hone critical thinking and debate skills.

In the competitions, teams of high school students portray key players in the courtroom in a simulation of a criminal case with a pretrial motion of a Bill of Rights issue.

Local judges preside, and attorneys rate the students’ performances from the jury box. These competitions are usually held in January and February at the Alameda County Superior Court Administration Building.

Volunteer & Contact Information for Alameda County

For more information or to sign up to volunteer for one or more of the evenings, contact:

Jenny Keystone
Mock Trial Attorney-Judge Coordinator
Phone: (510) 206-7366

back to top