I have served as the chairman of the SCCBA Law Related Education Committee for the last two years. Our main area of responsibility is running the county mock trial tournament in February for over 400 students. These are the closing days of my two terms. I have been fairly reflective the last few days.
How it Began
I joined the local bar association’s LRE committee in 2009. I started coaching one of the teams four years ago, after learning the students had been competing without a coach. I was asked to chair the committee after a friend stepped down as chairman.
Where We Are Today
We have had several good years of high student participation. We also have been very fortunate to have law firms and eDiscovery service providers sponsor the tournament.
eDiscovery is more than “big data” or “predictive coding.” The professionals at those companies have demonstrated a vested interest in the community. One service provider that asked to remain anonymous has donated the printing of 50 tabulated binders for the county judges each year. This is not without cost in both material or time. Their reasons for helping is because, “it is the right thing to do.”
Access Data Group has sponsored the first sponsor of tournament for the last three years. They do so without hesitation because they believe in providing opportunities for youth.
Nuix also is sponsoring the county tournament this year. It took one simple request and the reply was “of course.”
Providing opportunities for youth to learn about the legal system is a worthwhile cause. I am grateful to my friends who believe in that cause, because without them, putting on a program for over 400 students would be a lot harder.
I have been privileged to watch students grow up since their freshman year of high school. It is rewarding to see a youth who is quiet echo the spirit of Clarence Darrow in a powerful cross-examination. I am optimistic they will have a very good tournament this February.
We have graduates in college now preparing for the LSAT. I am confident they will be excellent trial attorneys before 2020.
The “Final” Days
Santa Clara County is hosting the California State Mock Trial Tournament this March. We will have the winning teams from all of the counties across the state meet in San Jose for what will be an excellent tournament.
We are $600 short of our $10,000 goal for the state tournament. If you would like to help us close the gap, you can donate directly http://www.crf-usa.org/mock-trial-program/support-mock-trial. Contributions of $250 or more get you or your firm recognized on the web site and written program. For $500 or more, a court room will be named after the donor for the duration of the State Finals.
We will also need scoring attorneys for both the county tournament and the state finals. If interested in volunteering, you can sign up on the SCCBA website.
Josh Gilliland is a California attorney who focuses his practice on eDiscovery. Josh is the co-creator of The Legal Geeks, which has made the ABA Journal Top Blawg 100 Blawg from 2013 to 2016, the Web 100 from 2017 to 2018, and was nominated for Best Podcast for the 2015 Geekie Awards. Josh has presented at legal conferences and comic book conventions across the United States. He also ties a mean bow tie.