Ohio High School Mock Trial

   photos courtesy of Dave Liggett

Hsmt TrophyOhio Mock Trial High School Competition


Watch your students grow both academically and personally, right before your eyes! Students learn first-hand about the law, court procedures and the judicial system while also building critical 21st Century skills. 

Ohio Mock Trial of­fers an in­no­v­a­tive ap­proach to learn­ing the law and how our legal sys­tem func­tions. Guided by teach­ers and vol­un­teer legal ad­vi­sors, stu­dents par­tic­i­pate in an orig­i­nal, un­scripted sim­u­lated trial writ­ten by at­tor­neys.  High school stu­dents argue both sides of the case in real court­rooms across the state.  The state fi­nals are held in the Ohio State­house and the win­ner ad­vances to the na­tional com­pe­ti­tion.

Each year vol­un­teer at­tor­neys cre­ate an orig­i­nal case around a cur­rent con­sti­tu­tional issue im­por­tant to stu­dents.  Mock Trial teams work with an at­tor­ney or a judge to pre­pare their case – from both the plain­tiff and de­fense per­spec­tive. Com­pe­ti­tions at the dis­trict, re­gional and state lev­els are con­ducted in an ac­tual court­room and are scored by pan­els of lawyers and judges.

Mock Trial Objectives

  • Improve critical thinking, reading, writing, public speaking and listening skills
  • De­velop un­der­stand­ing and ap­pre­ci­a­tion for the law, court pro­ce­dures, and the ju­di­cial sys­tem
  • Un­der­stand con­sti­tu­tional rights and re­spon­si­bil­i­ties
  • Rec­og­nize and re­ward stu­dents’ aca­d­e­mic and in­tel­lec­tual achieve­ments


For questions, contact Ryan Suskey at rsuskey@oclre.org or 614-485-3506.



2018 Case File: State of Buckeye v. Adam Smith




2018 Case File Cover2018 Case Capsule

Inspired by the popular podcast Serial the 2018 case asks students to tackle the post-conviction relief petition from Adam Smith. In October 1999, Smith was convicted of the murder of Hayley Leigh, his ex-girlfriend and fellow student at Trillium High. Almost 20 years later, Smith has filed a petition for a new trial, alleging ineffective assistance of counsel. Smith contends that his original attorney mishandled cell phone evidence in his case, and failed to pursue a potential alibi witness. The state has set an evidentiary hearing to consider Smith's motion for a new trial. Due to serious attorney misconduct, Smith's original trial attorney was disbarred only a few years after his case. Both sides have stipulated to the attorney's deficient representation. The hearing will focus on whether there is a reasonable probability that the outcome of the case would have been different but for the ineffective trial counsel (prejudice). 

To place an order for the 2018 Mock Trial Case File, click here. New orders will be filled on Mondays and Wednesdays up until the registration deadline in December.

Case updates and corrections - ERRATA

The final 2018 errata sheet is now available and can be accessed here: 2018 Final Errata. No further errata questions will be accepted for the 2018 season.


Looking for a prior year's case file? Click here to order previous year's case materials, from 1983-2016!


2018 Mock Trial Dates

  • District Competition: January 26, 2018
  • Regional Competition: February 16, 2018
  • State Competition: March 8-10, 2018

2018 Mock Trial Costs

All schools wishing to participate in the 2018 Ohio Mock Trial Competition must:

  1. Purchase a case file (or receive a free copy at the Law & Citizenship Conference)
  2. Complete a team registration form by the deadline. Click Here to register.
  3. Submit a complete roster of students
  4. Complete a Behavior Standards form prior to the first competition

Case files can be ordered in either hard copy or digital versions. Digital case files are sent via e-mail as a PDF. 

Hard copy teacher manuals are loosely bound hole-punched paper and includes a copy of the ABA Guide to Mock trials. Additional hard copies for students can be ordered after a first copy has been purchased (or received at the Conference)




Hard Copy Case File



Digital Copy Case File



Additional Copy (Hard Copy)



Team Registration

$170 per team

$205 per team



For more information on how to become involved with the Ohio High School Mock Trial pro­gram, please con­tact Ryan Suskey, Rsuskey@oclre.org 614-485-3506.


2018 Mock Trial Dates

  • State Competition: March 8-10, 2018
The final 2018 errata sheet is now available and can be accessed here: 2018 Final Errata. No further errata questions will be accepted for the 2018 season.

Congratulations to all of the 347 teams that competed in the 2018 Mock Trial Competition across the state!


Good luck to all of our State qualifiers:

School Team Name
Andrews Osborne Academy Andrews Osborne LEBEL and Associates
Archbishop Hoban Akron Archbishop Hoban Gold
Ashland HS Ashland White
Centerville HS Centerville Black
Centerville HS Centerville Gold
Columbus School For Girls CSG Stars
Danville HS Danville White
Grandview Heights HS Grandview Zing
Indian Hill HS Indian Hill Lannister
Indian Hill HS Indian Hill Stark
Indian Hill HS Indian Hill White Walkers
Lake HS Uniontown Lake HS Blue
Lake Ridge Academy LRA Blue
Logan HS Logan HS Purple
Marysville HS Marysville Titan
NDCL School NDCL Legal Lions
Olivia Davidson Washington ODW Booker T
Orange HS Orange Curie
Orange HS Orange Einstein
Orange HS Orange Newton
Perry HS Perry HS Panthers
Portsmouth West HS Portsmouth West - West Law Firm
Seven Hills School Seven Hills - Truth
Springfield HS Springfield Platinum
St Edward High School St. Edward Team Black 
St Edward High School St. Edward Team White
St. Xavier St. Xavier Red
Strongsville High School Strongsville Thor
Struthers HS Struthers Black
Sylvania Southview SSV Earl
Sylvania Southview SSV Jasper
Upper Arlington HS Upper Arlington Burger
Walnut Hills HS Walnut Hills Rivalitus
West Jefferson HS West Jefferson Vortex
Westerville North HS Westerville North Athena
William Mason HS Mason Black


State Finals Information

Congratulations to all teams competing at the regional competition. For teams advancing to the state finals, information about the competition can be found below. 


Hotel Accommodations

OCLRE has arranged for a block of rooms at nearby hotels. Teams wishing to book at the group rate must reserve by Friday February 23rd!

  • The Sheraton Columbus Downtown
    • Room rate per night of $132
    • To book at the group rate, please call Penny Drumm at 614-365-4583


  • The block of rooms at the Westin is full. Teams wishing to reserve rooms should do so at the Sheraton, listed above.


Competition Logistics

On Thursday and Friday, March 8-9, the state competition will be held at the Franklin County Courthouse (373 S High St, Columbus, OH 43215).  On Saturday, March 10, the final round will be held at the Ohio Statehouse (1 Capitol Square, Columbus, OH 43215) in the Senate Finance Hearing Room.


Competition Schedule

Please note, the schedule has changed from past years. Please review this schedule carefully prior to competition.

Thursday, March 8 – Franklin County Courthouse

12:00 - 1:00 p.m.         Team check-in

1:30 - 3:30 p.m.           Trial I

4:00 - 5:00                   Team Dinner Break

5:00 – 5:30 p.m.          Team check-in for Trial II

6:00 – 8:00 p.m.          Trial II

8:00 – 9:00 p.m.          Scores tallied, advancing teams announced 


Friday, March 9 – Franklin County Courthouse  

In the event that more than 8 teams advance, a play-in round will be held to determine the top 8 teams. See page 12 of the case file for a breakdown of the “play-in” structure.

8:30 a.m.                     Team check-in for Play-In Round

9:15 – 11:15 p.m.        Play-in Round (If needed)

11:15 – 12:30 p.m.      Scores tallied, advancing teams announced

12:30 p.m.                   Team check-in for Trial III

1:45 – 3:45 p.m.          Trial III

3:45 – 4:45 p.m.          Scores tallied, advancing teams announced

5:00 p.m.                     Team check-in for Trial IV

6:00 – 8:00 p.m.          Trial IV

8:00 – 9:00 p.m.          Scores tallied, advancing teams announced


Saturday, March 10 - Ohio Statehouse

8:30 a.m.                     Team Check-in

9:00 a.m. - 11:00         Championship Trial

12:00 p.m.                   Winner Announced


Team Check-In

All teams competing at the State Competition must check in at the OCLRE registration desk between 12:00 – 12:30 on Thursday, March 8th.

Prior to arriving for the competition, teams should eat lunch. There are several restaurants nearby, or teams can bring food and eat in the Courthouse Cafeteria. Trials will begin promptly as soon as all judges have arrived and have completed training.

  • The desk will be located outside of Meeting Room A in the PFM Hall. Follow signs from the pavilion entrance.
  • The team advisor or legal advisor must check teams in (no parents, students, chaperones, etc.)
  • Registration will not open until 12:00. No early check-in.
  • Upon check-in, advisors will:
    • Verify that the roster is correct and is unchanged from the District Competition
    • Turn in any remaining photo release forms for students (available here)
    • Receive a team bag with a map, scoresheets, and final instructions.

Please bring the following to competition:

  • 2 Stop watches – Cell phones may not be used in the courtroom to keep time.
  • Printed Time cards
  • Name tags for all students


Parking (Cars):

Options include:

  • Fulton Street Garage off E. Fulton, west of 3rd Street
  • Front Street Garage off Front Street, north of Fulton Street
  • Columbus Commons Parking Garage, 55 E. Rich Street, Columbus, Ohio 43215 Additional information available here.



For more information on how to become involved with the Ohio High School Mock Trial pro­gram, please con­tact Ryan Suskey, rsuskey@oclre.org 614-485-3506.


Ohio Mock Trial Resources

Mock Trial Evidence Maze

This resource, with special thanks to Clermont County Common Pleas Court Mediator & Senior Magistrate Harold Paddock for developing and sharing, is perfect if you are getting lost trying to navigate the Mock trial evidence "maze".

Putting On Mock Trials ABA Guide

The American Bar Association has created a guide to putting on Mock Trials. It has helpful information about the components of a trial, advise for students and sample trials. 

Make Your Case presented by Scholastic American Justice

Girl Make Your Case is a court­room trial sim­u­la­tion in which stu­dents con­trol the ac­tion as they ex­pe­ri­ence a real court­room set­ting. Make Your Case was de­vel­oped by Scholas­tic in con­junc­tion with the Amer­i­can Board of Trial Ad­vo­cates. The Amer­i­can Jus­tice webpages also con­tain ad­di­tional civic ed­u­ca­tion re­sources, including lesson plans, printables and more.  

US Federal Court Materials

PicThe US Fed­eral Courts have nu­mer­ous ed­u­ca­tional out­reach ma­te­ri­als on their web­site.  The re­sources serve to teach stu­dents about the Con­sti­tu­tion and the Fed­eral Court Sys­tem through the use of in­ter­ac­tive court sim­u­la­tions, con­sti­tu­tion re­sources and var­i­ous les­son plans on cur­rent top­ics in­clud­ing the nom­i­na­tion and con­fir­ma­tion process of Supreme Court Jus­tices

Mock Trial Resources Web Site

Pic2 The New Hampshire Bar Association has a website rich with Mock Trial resources. This site contains links to Mock Trial practice cases for all grade levels as well as links to several useful Mock Trial guides.

Mock Trial Practicum

Pic3 The Na­tional High School Mock Trial Cham­pi­onship Board in part­ner­ship with Great Rivers tech­nol­ogy pre­sents the Na­tional Mock Trial Practicum Publication.  The Publication en­hances the Mock Trial ex­pe­ri­ence for stu­dents, teach­ers, coaches and judges by pro­vid­ing an in­ter­ac­tive area that will help stu­dents bet­ter un­der­stand the trial process and learn­ing tools for new and ex­pe­ri­enced ad­vi­sors. Ac­cess to the site is avail­able for $100 per team (up to 8 stu­dents) and $10 for each ad­di­tional stu­dent, re­new­able each year.  For a demon­stra­tion or more in­for­ma­tion, please con­tact Stacy Beyer, In­struc­tional Tech­nol­ogy Con­sul­tant, at 563-589-1270 or sbey­er@greatrivertech.net

Mock Trial Student Tips Videos

Iadc Logo

The Foundation of the International Association of Defense Counsel (IADC), has a YouTube channel with short videos offering mock trial tips for students. The videos include helpful suggestions for conducting direct and cross examination, opening statements and closing arguments.

IADC Mock Trial Student Tips Videos

Congratulations to all teams that competed in the 2017 High School Mock Trial State Competition.

Columbus School for Girls – Team Pop
Lake Ridge Academy – Team Blue
Orange High School – Team Everest
Westerville North – Team Marbury
St. Vincent St. Mary
Indian Hill High School – Team Black

 Runner-Up: Notre Dame Cathedral Latin – Legal Lions Blue

2017 Winner:  Indian Hill High School – Team Red


For more information on how to become involved with the Ohio High School Mock Trial pro­gram, please con­tact Ryan Suskey, Rsuskey@oclre.org, 614-485-3506.



How do I get started?

If you or your school/organization are new to Ohio Mock Trial, welcome! First, you need the case file… The case is released annually at the Law & Citizenship Conference. Conference attendees are the first to receive their copy of the case and are also able to attend many mock trial related sessions, including the case presentation by members of the case writing committee and OCLRE staff. In addition to the case file, conference attendees hear from top-notch speakers in the fields of civics, social studies, law, and government, and leave with 30+ lessons and resources. *Additionally, if you register for one or both days of the Law & Citizenship Conference, you can attend a FREE mock trial professional development session the day prior to the conference. This professional development session is intended for those who are new to mock trial, or who would like a refresher.


I am unable to attend the Law & Citizenship Conference but want to get the Mock Trial case. What do I do?!

Take a deep breath and relax. You can still order the case! Complete this form and the case file will be sent to you. Please note that cases will not be sent until after the Law & Citizenship Conference in September. 


I’ve got my case materials. Is that all? Am I ready to compete?

NO. Not yet. Team registration is a separate cost and registration form. Most team advisors wait until closer to the registration deadline, usually mid-December, to make sure that student interest hasn’t waned and to be certain of the number of teams they will field. A team consists of 5 – 11 students.


My students and I are struggling with start-up. Who can help us? 

OCLRE has teacher mentors for all of its programs, including mock trial. Teacher mentors have expressed willingness to help other teachers who are new to a program, to answer questions from the teacher perspective or offer advice. Click Here to access a list of mentors. You can also contact the Mock Trial Program Coordinator Ryan Suskey, rsuskey@oclre.org


How much time should my students and I spend on practice and preparation?

The short and simple answer is: it varies. Some teams are classroom-based and therefore spend class time each week preparing. Other teams are extra-curricular and meet one or more times per week, before or after school or on weekends. Others may only have time to meet a few times per month. There is no right or wrong answer. Figure out what works best for you, your fellow advisors (if any), and your students. The case is released in September and the first competition date is at the end of January, so at most teams have about four months to prepare.


I don’t have a legal advisor. Do I need one?

OCLRE does not require that mock trial teams have a legal advisor, however, most teachers appreciate assistance from volunteer attorneys, who help students understand case law, courtroom procedure and etiquette. Often times a mock trial legal advisor is the parent of a student or a local attorney who volunteers in his/her community. The time commitment for volunteer legal advisors varies and is worked out between the teacher/team advisor and attorney. If you are unable to find a legal advisor, contact Ryan Suskey, rsuskey@oclre.org, and OCLRE may be able to put you in contact with an interested local attorney.


When and where do my students compete? 

District Competition (the first round of competition) takes place in January. To the greatest extent possible, teams are assigned to a competition site closest to their school. Competition site placement is based on a number of factors, including teams’ ability to travel and courtroom availability at local competition sites. Teams that win both trials (having played both P and D) at the District level advance to Regional Competition in February. Teams that win both trials at Regional Competition will advance to State Competition, in March in Columbus. The state champion team is eligible to compete in the National Mock Trial Competition.


I have a question about, or found a discrepancy in, the facts of the case and/or a witness statement. What do I do?

OCLRE will post errata on the Mock Trial page every two weeks beginning in October and going through January. Errata questions must be submitted by the teacher or legal advisor, not students, and should be directed to rsuskey@oclre.org.


It’s competition day and there is inclement weather in my part of the state/school is delayed/school is closed, etc. What do I do?

If your team cannot make it to the competition site, please immediately notify the district/regional competition coordinator where you are scheduled to compete (available in January) as soon as possible. You should also notify OCLRE by contacting Ryan Suskey, rsuskey@oclre.org (614) 485-3506. Teams are expected to follow school district policy and/or common sense when making the decision whether or not to travel in inclement weather. Most importantly: safety should come first! The scheduling of make-up competitions is at the discretion of OCLRE and the affected site coordinators (please see page 10 of the case manual for make-up competition policy).


My school doesn’t have a mock trial team, but I want to get involved. What can I do?

Are you a high school student? Start by talking to a teacher – it could be a social studies teacher, the drama teacher, or even the principal. If you and four or more interested students are willing to take on the challenge, the teacher may be willing, too. There is some expense involved, so make sure to factor that into consideration. If you get buy-in from school personnel, refer the person to the top of this list of FAQs for next steps. If a student can’t convince a teacher in his/her school, please contact OCLRE. On occasion, there are non-school affiliated community teams or other opportunities to get involved.


I am having trouble with the online order form and am getting frustrated. What should I do?

Don’t worry – OCLRE is here to help! Call us at (614) 485-3510 or toll-free at (877) 485-3510 and ask for Cathy. She can guide you through problems and make sure you get what you need. Additionally, Cathy can answer questions about usernames and passwords, as well as payment options. OCLRE endeavors to continually improve our online order and registration processes to benefit our constituents and your feedback help us to do so.


What are the payment options for online orders and registrations? Do I have to use a credit card?

OCLRE offers several payment options. You may pay with a credit card, request to be invoiced, or enter a purchase order (PO) number. If the PO number is not known at the time an order is placed, you may select the purchase order option and then enter “pending” for the number.


How do I know if my order/registration has been completed successfully?

When orders and registrations have been submitted successfully to OCLRE, an automatic email confirmation is generated and should arrive in your inbox within minutes. If you do not receive a confirmation email within an hour, please contact OCLRE. 


A few helpful hints for proper form completion:

  • Follow the process all the way through, using the “Next” and “Submit” buttons.
  • Complete all required (*) fields or you will not be able to proceed/finish
  • Complete the payment portion of the form, even if you are not paying by credit card.
  • Other options that you can select include requesting an invoice or entering a PO number (or indicate that a PO is in process and the number is “pending”)
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