Lakeridge also competed at the regional level

Hundreds of students including Lake Oswego and Lakeridge high schoolers appeared in the Clackamas County Courthouse earlier this month — as litigators.

Two teams from Lake Oswego High, a team from Lakeridge High and several other area student teams argued the fictional case of State v. Durden during the Classroom Law Project High School Mock Trial Regional Competition on March 2.

A group from Riverdale High School won state at a regional contest in Multnomah County.

The Lake Oswego White Team, West Linn Gold Team and Riverdale Blue Team will battle 11 other high schools for a place in nationals during the annual state competition on Friday and Saturday in the Mark O. Hatfield Federal Courthouse in Portland. U.S. District Court Judge Michael Simon, will preside. It is the third consecutive year that the White Team has made it to state.

“The courtroom, with a judge and a panel of jury members is a very intimidating place for our students,” said Jefferson Moore, Lake Oswego High’s mock trial adviser. “They learn to speak clearly and confidently under pressure.”

The regional and national competitions have the same basic format and center on the made-up incident in which a college student named Jessica Bateson drank too much water and died during a sorority pledge activity. Taylor Durden is the pledge master and tells police that Bateson and other pledges answered a series of questions, drinking water every time they answered incorrectly. The case hinges on whether Bateson was forced to drink water or did so voluntarily and whether the amount of water killed her or she had a physiological flaw.

Students find out whether they are with the prosecution or the defense minutes before they present. Volunteer judges, usually local attorneys, rule on the case.

Students are judged on criteria including whether they are persuasive and understandable, present a well-organized argument and show a mastery of case materials.

About 1,000 students participate in the mock trial competition each year, which is sponsored and organized by the Classroom Law Project and sponsored by the Oregon State Bar. About 500 attorneys and teachers volunteer to judge participants and coach teams.

“Our success would not have been possible without these coaches’ volunteerism,” Moore said. “They donate hours and hours to work with the kids. They really are unsung heroes.”

by: SUBMITTED - Lake Oswego High School's White Team duked it out with Sandy High School's Red Team at the mock trial regionals earlier this SUBMITTED - Lakeridge High School took on Colton High School at a regional mock trial competition on March 2.

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