About the Program

Since 1985, the Colorado Bar Association (CBA) has proudly sponsored the Colorado High School Mock Trial Program. This program is funded by the CBA Litigation Section and the Colorado Bar Foundation. This educational program is one of more than forty-five educational programs in Colorado and is one of the leading and most respected programs in the country.

More than 100 high school teams participate in Colorado’s mock trial program. Approximately 1,500 students perform as attorneys and/or witnesses in a court case. Hundreds of attorneys, judges, teachers, and other community leaders volunteer their time to instruct students about the judicial system and the trial process through this educational program.

Why Sign Up?

The CBA High School Mock Trial Program is a positive academic program that gives students an opportunity to expand their speaking, writing, reading, and analytical skills while learning about the judicial system. The students play the role of attorneys and witnesses in a fictitious case. To play these roles, students are introduced to a number of life skills that will be helpful to them in their future, such as team work and collaboration; the importance and value of setting goals; the value of strategic planning and implementation; productive argumentative and persuasive skills; critical thinking skills; and the ability to face challenging obstacles with enthusiasm, professionalism and confidence.

How does a Mock Trial Work?

Mock trial teams are composed of 6–12 students who perform a case for the Prosecution/Plaintiff and/or the Defense. In most cases, an actual Colorado judge or magistrate presides over the trial round while attorneys, paralegals and community members adjudicate the student performances. In any mock trial round, three students serve as attorneys to argue their side of the case, and three students serve as witnesses for direct and cross-examinations.


Who Can Participate

Any Colorado high school, home school, or community center program is welcome to participate. Students must be enrolled in grades 9–12 at the time of participation in the regional tournament. Each team must have at least one teacher/organizational sponsor and, ideally, one attorney coach. Teams having difficulty in finding an attorney coach may contact their local bar association and/or the CBA to assist in recruiting an attorney.


In Mock Trial, no verdicts are given; rather, students are awarded points for their performance. Their performances are scored based on predetermined criteria that reflect successful portrayals of attorneys and witnesses. Specifically, they are scored on knowledge and use of the Rules of Evidence, trial procedures, witness character portrayals, and the conviction of each side's argument.

How it Works

Teams participate in their regional tournament, the first level of competition, which takes place in February. Regional tournaments are coordinated by local bar associations and are held in courtrooms where teams argue both sides of a case during trial rounds. Top finishers of regional tournaments advance to compete in the State Championship Tournament held in March.
After being named the Colorado State Mock Trial Champion, the mock trial team goes on to participate in the National High School Mock Trial Championship (NHSMTC) tournament held in May. For more information about the NHSMTC, go to www.nationalmocktrial.org.