Oklahoma Bar Journal

Mock Trial Competition
Volunteers: Come One, Come All

By Jennifer Bruner Soltani

(From left) Orion Strand, Nicole Longwell, Andrea Medley, Judy Spencer, Jennifer Bruner Soltani and Todd Murray wrap up a successful year on the Mock Trial Executive Committee.

            The Oklahoma High School Mock Trial Program has its own unique place in our association’s history. The program was started by the OBA Young Lawyers Division, with the first competition held during the 1980-1981 school year. When it first began, only eight schools participated in the state competition. It was 1984 when Oklahoma sent a state competition winner on to compete at the National High School Mock Trial Competition. Over the course of our state’s competition, Oklahoma high school students have had the opportunity to compete as lawyers and witnesses in simulated courtroom experiences utilizing fictional cases. In recent years, the competition has expanded to include courtroom artist and courtroom journalist components. It is my hope that this Oklahoma tradition will continue for another 40 years.

            I want to focus on recognizing the many volunteers who make this competition possible, not only those on the committee but also the trial site coordinators, scoring panelists and judges. This year, the competition was challenged by weather and other events that required the committee to reschedule eight trial site locations. This involved finding alternate venues, trial site coordinators and/or judges and scoring panelists. I want to specifically recognize Carolyn Thompson for her miraculous efforts in finding volunteers and getting them scheduled, rescheduled and, in some instances, rescheduled again.

            While recognizing the efforts of the many who are listed below, I also want to appeal to OBA members across the state to participate and volunteer for Mock Trial. The Mock Trial Committee is in need of new committee members to keep this competition moving forward for many years to come. Involvement on the committee usually includes about five to 10 in-person or Zoom meetings per year, participation during the competition season and at the final round of the competition. Further, the committee’s leadership also has the opportunity to attend the national competition, which is held at a different location every year. The committee’s meetings are typically held at lunch or at the end of the workday to enable members to participate around their work schedules.

            The committee also needs to recruit trial site coordinator volunteers. This typically involves being at the trial site for a full day of competition and guiding the teams, teachers, students, presiding judge and scoring panelists through the competition rounds, while completing the paperwork to record the outcomes of each round. Trial site coordinators are needed across the state – Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Lawton, El Reno, Ada, McAlester, Okmulgee, Norman, Stillwater, Arapaho, Tahlequah and Shawnee. The committee always needs new volunteers for judging and scoring panelists every year. Finally, many schools enlist the assistance of attorney coaches to help their teams prepare for the competition. There are many ways for attorneys and judges, actively practicing or retired, to participate in Mock Trial.

            Being involved on the Mock Trial committee provides a unique opportunity to see the talents of young people develop and grow as they participate over the years, to guide and provide support to those students and their teachers, and to give back to the legal community and Oklahoma communities. I invite all Oklahoma lawyers to participate. If you participated this year or have in the past, we have a need for your ongoing participation. If you participated for the first time and found it interesting or enjoyable, please volunteer. Email mocktrial@okbar.org to volunteer for the committee or any of the roles outlined above.

            Thank you to the Oklahoma Bar Foundation, which has enabled this competition to be held for so many years with their financial support. Thank you to the high schools, administrators, teachers and students for their participation in this program. And a sincere thank you to the many volunteers listed below for their donations of time and effort.


Chairperson Jennifer A. Bruner Soltani

Immediate Past Chairperson Todd A. Murray

Chair-Elect Orion Strand

Carolyn Thompson, coordinator for trial sites in Oklahoma City and Tulsa

Weston Watts, Oklahoma City and Tulsa volunteer coordinator

Andrea Medley

Shea Bracken

Andrew Casey

Christine Cave

Michael Nesser

Nathan Richter

Gessica Sewell McLanahan


Jennifer Bruner Soltani

Carrie Hulett

Patrick Layden

Renee Little

Dana Mackey

Andrea Medley

Todd Murray

April McClure

Michael Nesser

Anthony Purinton

Maxey Reilly

Jacob Rowe

Mark Schwebke

Orion Strand

Julie Strong

Leah Terrill-Nessmith

Carolyn Thompson

Kathryn Walker

Jennifer White


Luke Adams

Clifton Baker

Jennifer Stall

Chris Ross

Andrew Hofland

Desmond Sides

Judge Douglas Kirkley

Tim McCoy

Dean Lott

Aimee Majoue

Alyssa Gillette

Justin Rinck

Kendra Dorsin

Madison Botizan

Jeff Fischer

Michael Horn

Morgan Medders

Stacy Acord

Jenny Proehl-Day

Jacob Downs

Lacie Lawson

Matt Sheets

Tim Maxcey

Allison Furlong

Cliff Heckert

Judge Daman Cantrell

Ken Underwood

Kaylind Baker

John Andrew

Jonathan Udoka

Misty Mongomery


Judging the final championship round were, from left, Judge Jane Wiseman, Mark Schwebke, Judge Shon T. Erwin, Dan Crawford and Judge Stacie Hixon.


(* denotes volunteered four or more times)

Dacia Abel

Glenn Adams

Maryam Adamu

Curtis Allen

Michael Ashworth

Judge   Jerry Bass*

Mindy Beare

Howard Berkson*

Kelly Bishop*

Kendra Blocker

Chelsi Chaffin Bonano

Angela Bonilla

Judge   Anthony Bonner

Madison Botizan

Jack Bowyer

John Branum

Jerry Breathwit

Aaron Bruner

Shena Burgess

Dan Byrd

Christine Cave

David Cheek*

Wes Cherry

Kaushiki Chowdhury

Mary Clement

Heather Cline

Bruce Coker

Dustin Compton

John Cramer

Judge   Dan Crawford*

Debra Davis

Judge   Melissa DeLacerda

John Denney

Judge   Deidre Dexter*

Kara Didier

Monica Dionisio

Allyson Dow

Harold Drain

Ryan Eitzmann

Tom Q. Ferguson

Quinn Fields

Mark Fields

Craig Fitzgerald

Jacquelyn Ford

Eddie Foraker

Judge   Charles Gass

Charlie Geister

Aaron Goodman

Jessica Goodwin

Eric Grantham

Stephen Gray

Elaine Green

Judge   Jeremiah Gregory

Judge   Brad Gungoll

Deborah Hackler

Cara Hair

Judge   Sarah Hall

Judge   David Halley

David Hamel

Austin Hamm

Judge   Howard Haralson*

Kari Hawthorne

Shane Henry

Eric Hermansen

Craig Hoster

Michon Hughes

Trevor Hughes

Thomas Hull Jr.

Kelly Hunt

Mozella Irwin-Smith

Judge   Lori Jackson

Annette Jacobi

Brenda Johnson

Erin Jones-Slatev

Kelly Kavalier

David Keglovits

Chad Kelliher

Jessica Ladd

Joseph Lang

Kent Larason*

Anne Lawrence

Lacie Lawson

Danielle Layden

Maren Lively

Robert Margo

Judge   Kevyn Mattax

Erika Mattingly

Mary McCann

Judge   Jack McCurdy

Don McFarland

Caleb McKee

Aisha McWeay

Jonathan Miller

James Moore

Bryan Morris

Tom Mullen

Judge   Jequita Napoli

Earl Ogletree

Nora O'Neill

Judge   Patricia Parrish

Matt Patterson

Alison Petrone

Mariana Pitts

Linda Pizzini

Heather Poole

Austin Rabon

Robert Redemann

Judge   Maxey Reilly

Trevor Riddle

Thomas Robertson

Robin Rollins

Dana Roosa

Andrea Rust

Judge   Kathryn Savage

Judge   Mark Schwebke*

Lacey Shirley

Roe Simmons

Kelly Smakal

Libby Smith

Travis Smith

Angela Smith

Nicole Snapp-Holloway*

Jeanne Snider

Chuck Sullivan

Joe Tate

Kyle Trice

Mark Van Paasschen

Georgenia Van Tuyl*

Jason Waddell

Ana B. Walker

Sharon Weaver

Lucas West

Ashley Weyland

Alysa White

Teressa Williams

Lauren Willoughby

Kensey Wright

Melissa York


Jennifer Bruner Soltani practices in Oklahoma City.

Originally published in the Oklahoma Bar Journal – OBJ 94 Vol 5 (May 2023)

Statements or opinions expressed in the Oklahoma Bar Journal are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Oklahoma Bar Association, its officers, Board of Governors, Board of Editors or staff.