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Most lawyers report doing pro bono work allows them balance. They’re afforded opportunities at cases they might otherwise miss out on, especially in those areas they may not normally practice in. But many lawyers across the country are recognizing they can making a contribution in another way, too. A. Harrison Barnes says some lawyers are discovering high school students who are considering law as a career benefit greatly from mock trials. The founder says it’s the ideal way to spark interest in those who’d not considered the legal profession while also planting a seed of curiosity of those who always wanted to “grow up and be a lawyer”. Mock trials open up a world of potential and give these kids direction after high school. It’s an exciting way to learn the rules of the game in an adult world and also gives them an idea of how crimes affect society and how society expects those found guilty to pay. Not only that, but A. Harrison Barnes says it’s also a good deterrent for some kids who have no direction and who might have otherwise fell through cracks and found themselves on the wrong side of the courtroom.

There are always opportunities to motivate high school kids and a mock trial is one of them. It lets them know someone is interested in their well being and the choices they’re making and it’s something they take pride in. Knowing they’re participating in such an exciting event is magical for educators and lawyers to watch as it unfolds. It’s not surprising, then, that many blossom just by having some attention and interest paid to them.

The founder is quick to agree that it can sometimes be difficult to find the time or energy to participate in a high school mock trial, but when attorneys and even paralegals do find that time, their rewards are returned ten-fold. If you’re interested in working with a local high school, you’ll need to contact the school board to work out the details. Of course, there will need to be interest by the kids and since it likely won’t mean credits needed for graduation; you, the teachers and students will need to commit to time in the evenings and even a few weekends. It’s a big sacrifice, but one worth making and one that will stay with these kids the rest of their lives. Remember, it’s those small sacrifices that define the great men and women in our country. There’s no better way to build that foundation than to take an interest in a teenager and help nurture it into a passion that allows him to make his own way and someday, give back to the next group of high school kids looking to pave their ways. And so the cycle continues.

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