Wade Clark Mulcahy’s New Jersey office led the way in Union County in participating in the annual Vincent J. Apruzzese High School Mock Trial Program which is sponsored by the New Jersey Bar Foundation. The Mock Trial Program provides high school students in the state of New Jersey with an opportunity to develop their advocacy skills and to experience what it is really like to be a trial lawyer. Teams are comprised of five individuals from each participating high school. Two students act as attorneys while three students act as fact and expert witnesses.
Trials are conducted before experienced litigators who act as judges along with a student-comprised jury and often last three hours. In order to make the experience more realistic, the trials are conducted in actual courtrooms in the Union County Courthouse so students are able to feel what is like to try a case in a courtroom. The final round in the County is judged by a panel of sitting New Jersey Superior Court Law Division judges. The ultimate champion from each County then participates in a statewide contest with the winner of the statewide contest then proceeding to the national competition to compete against winners from the other 49 states and the District of Columbia.
WCM’s New Jersey office had four of its attorneys participating as judges (Paul Clark, Tony Pinto, Mike Noblett and Brent Bouma) and was recognized by the state Bar Foundation for having the largest contingency of volunteer judges than any other firm in the County. In their role as judges, WCM attorneys not only adjudicated the trial but also provided detailed feedback to the teams regarding their performances and provided our own insight into actual trials. In other years, WCM attorneys have also participated in the program as team coaches for high schools, volunteering our time to meet with competing teams twice a week to assist with preparing the teams for their competition. We were happy to participate in this worthy cause as a way to give back to our local community and to share our zeal and enthusiasm for trial advocacy.