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(Oklahoma City - Feb. 22, 2016) – Mock trial teams from Bishop Kelley, Jenks, Owasso, Ada, Clinton, Calera and Moore High Schools advance to the semifinal rounds of the 2016 Oklahoma High School Mock Trial competition. These rounds are scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 23, in Tulsa at the U.S. Bankruptcy Court and Wednesday, Feb. 24, in Oklahoma City at the U.S. Western District Federal Courthouse. One Ada team, Moore, Jenks and Bishop Kelley will compete in Tulsa. A second Ada team, Owasso, Clinton and Calera will compete in Oklahoma City.

The two winning teams from Tulsa and Oklahoma City will compete in the final round on March 1 at the University of Oklahoma College of Law in Norman for the state championship title. The Oklahoma champion will compete in the national competition in Boise, Idaho, in May.

The competition involves teams of students taking on the roles of attorneys and defendants. The “trials” are heard by a judge and attorneys in a courtroom setting where individual and team performances are evaluated. In this year’s fictional case, Parker Smith, the plaintiff and a senior at Tahlequah High School, chooses to participate in a new program where students are issued laptops provided by Pioneer Computers Inc. After reporting the loss of his laptop, the tracking software was activated and images were captured for an extended period of time after the laptop was retrieved, capturing Smith’s private messages and searches bringing up questions of possible action by Smith and other students against the school.

“Competing in the Mock Trial Program is an unforgettable experience for these students,” OBA Mock Trial Coordinator Judy Spencer said. “It instills public speaking skills, while helping them learn how to analyze, reason and debate. And also very importantly, they learn about our laws and legal system, as well as how and why courts work.”

The Mock Trial Program is sponsored and funded by the Oklahoma Bar Foundation and the Oklahoma Bar Association Young Lawyers Division. Nearly 400 judges and attorneys volunteered their time to work with mock trial teams as coaches and to conduct the competitions.

The foundation, through its grants and awards program, allocates funds to nonprofit agencies and programs like mock trial. The mission of the foundation is to ensure justice is possible for all Oklahomans through the promotion of law, education and access to justice. The 17,600-member Oklahoma Bar Association, headquartered in Oklahoma City, was created by the Oklahoma Supreme Court to advance the administration of justice and to foster and maintain learning, integrity, competence, public service and high standards of conduct among Oklahoma’s legal community.