Bay Area soon-to-be, practicing, and retired law professional are needed to help their future brethren at the upcoming 32nd Annual Contra Costa County High School Mock Trial Program, held in the early evenings throughout the month of February at the Martinez Court Houses.

Teams from Las Lomas, Northgate, Acalanes and 14 other Contra Costa County high schools are expected to field teams.

Preliminary competition begins Feb. 5 and is set to end Feb. 26 with a finals round and a concession round.

Coordinated by the Contra Costa County Office of Education, Mock Trial is an academic event for high school students 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 case is a hit-and-run trial, with a texting-while-driving element mixed in.

Last year, 120 Bay Area practicing and retired attorneys, law students, and sworn judges volunteered their time with the Mock Trials.


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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, pretrial 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 17 Contra Costa County high school Mock Trial teams competing.

Volunteers will score two competing schools that argue the cases in their assigned court.

Scorers are made up of Bay Area deputy district attorneys and deputy public defenders, as well as public-sector, private-practice, and corporate lawyers. A practicing or retired judge or commissioner will preside over each trial, and also serves as one of the trial's scorers.

Interested volunteers can learn more by visiting the CCCOE's Mock Trial Web page, or contacting Jonathan Lance at 925-942-3429.

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    The Las Lomas High School Advanced Drama Class presents its "Advanced Drama Showcase" tonight, Jan. 24, at the Las Lomas Theater on the school's campus, 1460 S. Main St. in Walnut Creek.

    In this "8 Minute Shakespeare Festival, the audience will see four 8-minute Shakespeare plays -- "Romeo and Juliet," "Hamlet," "Macbeth" and "Much Ado About Nothing."

    Taron Hensley, Las Lomas' theater arts director, said all 21 students in his Advanced Drama Class will be featured in these plays" said Hensley. The students also created the 8-minute scripts and area directing the plays.

    Showtime is 7:30 p.m. on Thursday. Door opens at 7 p.m. Admission is free.

    Send items for the Journal's School Notes section to Sam Richards at srichards@bayareanewsgroup.com

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