Written by Lance Leonhard
The judges have spoken . . .
After a full day of competition, two teams rose to the top of the 2020 Wausau Regional High School Mock Trial Tournament. But, before I tell you the judges’ verdict, I feel obligated to lay a bit of foundation (yes, that’s another legal pun).
What Is Mock Trial?
If you don’t already know, Mock Trial is an initiative of the Wisconsin State Bar that began in 1983. Each year, teams of lawyers, judges, and other volunteers put together complex fictional case materials consisting of witness statements, factual reports, and other documents. Students from around the State — with the help of volunteer coaches and teachers — spend months developing their case strategies and legal arguments.
Each year, thousands of high school students compete around the State in regional tournaments. In 2020, there were 11 regional Mock Trial tournament sites, hosting over 1,150 students from a total of 99 teams.
This year, the Wausau Region hosted a couple of perennial powerhouse teams, including:
- Rhinelander — A team that had previously won the regional tournament 31 consecutive times, won the State title 17 times, and won the National Mock Trial Championship in 1989
- DC Everest — The winner of the last two regional tournaments
So, Who Walked Away With the Regional Victories?
In the end, the battle came down to DC Everest and Rhinelander, and when the judges rendered their final verdict, DC Everest walked away with its third consecutive regional tournament crown, while Rhinelander took second place.
The next step for the teams chosen to represent the Wausau Region is to compete at the State Tournament. The State Semi-Final is scheduled for March 13–14, 2020, and the State Finals will be held on March 15.
So, DC Everest and Rhinelander don’t have much time to celebrate; they will quickly be facing off against the following 20 teams:
- Eau Claire Region: 1st place – River Falls High School; 2nd place – Superior High School
- Wisconsin Rapids Region: 1st place – Kewaskum High School; 2nd place – Marshfield High School
- Waukesha Region: 1st place – Brookfield Academy; 2nd place – Brookfield Central High School
- Kenosha Region: 1st place – Nicolet High School; 2nd place – Lakeview Technology
- La Crosse Region: 1st place – River Valley High School; 2nd place – Logan High School
- Appleton Region: 1st place – Xavier High School; 2nd place – Appleton West High School
- Juneau Region: 1st place – Lodi High School; 2nd place – Beaver Dam High School
- Green Bay Region: 1st place – Bay Port High School; 2nd place – Oshkosh High School
- Milwaukee Region: 1st place – Whitefish Bay High School; 2nd place – Shorewood High School
- Madison Region: 1st place – Middleton High School; 2nd place – Madison West High School
If you want to see a video clip of how the DC Everest High School mock trialers reacted when they learned they had won, click here or on the photo below…
Mock Trial is an excellent opportunity for high school students to learn about our legal system, develop analytical skills, and become better public speakers — plus, it’s a TON of FUN!
It’s also a huge undertaking and we are always looking for help. If you’d like to volunteer next year, please give me a call or send me an email.
If you’re a student, talk to your teachers and administrators about getting a mock trial team together and visit the State Bar Website to learn more.
With that, until next year, the Wausau Regional Mock Trial Tournament is adjourned.
Good luck at State!
Marathon County Deputy Administrator / Interim Administrator
Lance Leonhard began his career in Marathon County government in the Office of Corporation Counsel and currently serves as the Marathon County Deputy Administrator. Lance’s career in public service has spanned more than a decade, having worked for the federal government as a law clerk on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit and for the state of Wisconsin as an Assistant District Attorney. Outside of work, you’re likely to find Lance spending time with his family, traveling, teeing off on a local golf course, or sitting around a campfire with friends. Email Lance Leonhard
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