High School Mock Trial

High School Mock Trial Program

Mock trial is designed to introduce students to our legal system by providing a challenging, academic competition. The program offers students an opportunity for personal growth and achievement, emphasizing the importance of research, presentation and teamwork.

In addition to teaching students about contemporary public issues and the legal system, the program encourages teachers and students to develop learning partnerships with professionals from the community.

Lawyers from communities throughout Iowa contribute their time as coaches and judges at the tournaments.

Judges from Iowa's District Courts also participate. These linkages between the schools and the legal profession show students that the community is committed to their educational success.

We hope that you will consider participation in this valuable educational program. Last year, more than 1,600 students from across Iowa participated. The tournament includes students from social studies courses, TAG programs, at-risk classes and extracurricular mock trial clubs. We urge you to join the fun!

2020 High School Mock Trial Tournament Cancelled

From Director of the ISBA Center for Law & Civic Education John Wheeler:


10 days ago, based on the best advice from health officials and others, we decided to postpone the 2020 Iowa High School Mock Trial State Tournament. This was an optimistic assessment that foresaw limited school closures and minimal disruption to daily lives. Unfortunately, this has not proven to be the case. With all Iowa schools closed until at least April 13, business closures ordered by the Governor, and social distancing mandates imposed by the City of Des Moines and other municipalities, it does not seem possible to hold our high school event this Spring. We are therefore cancelling the 2020 Iowa High school Mock Trial State Tournament. Each state qualifying team will receive recognition and a plaque noting their accomplishment as a State Finalist.

We do not make this decision lightly. Given the current situation, social disruption is likely to continue to cause event disruption throughout Iowa, the United States and the world. Experts at both the State and Federal departments of health estimate that a return to “normal” may take many weeks or months. Our primary goal must be to ensure the health and safety of all involved in the program. We suspect that even if schools are back in session in mid-April, outside activities and public gatherings may continue to be limited. With an abundance of caution, cancelling the State Tournament seems to be our only option.

We want to thank the many hundreds of students, coaches, and volunteers who make this program possible each year. We especially want to recognize this year’s Senior class participants for their passion for mock trial. We also want to extend a THANK YOU to those educator-coaches who are retiring or stepping away from the mock trial program this year. It has been an honor and privilege to work with you over the years.

With luck, and health, we will continue to offer the Iowa Mock Trial Program at the Middle School and High School levels during the 2020-2021 academic year. We look forward to seeing you and your students back in action.

I send my prayers and best wishes that you and your students remain safe and healthy.


Competition Information
What is Mock Trial and its Learning Objectives
Welcome/Invitation to Participate
Tournament Information
Timeline and Checklist
Regional Competition Schedule
Team Roster
Competition Time Sheet
Rules of Procedure
Rules of Evidence
Iowa Mock Trial Explanatory Guide

Coaching Tips
Coaching Tips II

Judges Information
Volunteer to Judge
Judges Participation Form
Judges Handbook
Scoring/Evaluation Criteria

Additional Information
Past High School Mock Trial Champions
Regional Award Criteria
Regional Award Certificate
What Students Say About Iowa Mock Trial
Tell Us About Your Attorney Coach
Nominate a Coach to the Hall of Fame