Monday, March 13, 2017

Prof. Ryan Fortson spearheads Alaska High School Mock Trial Competition

L-R: Prof. Fortson keeps time during the final round of mock trial
competition, Alaska Supreme Court Justice Joel Bolger,
Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Morgen Christen,
Chief Judge of the Alaska Court of Appeals David Mannheimer,
Alaska Supreme Court Justice Peter Maasen, and
Anchorage Superior Court Judge Kevin Saxby
listen to students present their case.
For the past 15 years, Prof. Ryan Fortson, Justice Center faculty, has taken a leading role in organizing the Alaska High School Mock Trial Competition, sponsored by the Young Lawyers Section of the Anchorage Bar Association. In addition to coordinating volunteers, Prof. Fortson serves as principle liaison with schools and develops the materials (with the help of other volunteers) used by high school students.

This year Prof. Fortson provided students with a case involving the death of a participant in a fictional remote Alaska reality show. Teams of six to nine high school students were pitted against one another in a simulated wrongful death bench trial. Students played the roles of attorneys and witnesses and were evaluated by a panel of judges, attorneys, and law clerks. The final round took place in the courtroom of the Alaska Supreme Court on Saturday, March 4.