Nebraska Places Second at National High School Mock Trial Championship

At the annual National High School Mock Trial Championship on May 16-18 in Athens, Georgia, the Creighton Prep High School placed second. The Prep team consisted of Ryan Laughlin, Mason Mandolfo, Matthew Mandolfo, Dominic Mendlik, Jaliya Nagahawatte, Christopher Nubel and Nate Reyes. They were accompanied by attorney coaches Mark Laughlin and Patrick Cooper and were among 46 teams competing from across the United States, Guam, South Korea, and the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands.

The Nebraska State Bar Foundation organizes and coordinates the Judge Lyle Strom High School Mock Trial Program, which is offered statewide to high schools. Nebraska mock trial teams compete at both the regional and state level before the state winner advances to the national championship. 

As Nebraska state champion, Prep competed against the Tennessee Agathos Classical School the final trial.  The Agathos Classical School won the national championship in a close trial watched and evaluated by 15 volunteer judges.  Teams had seven weeks to prepare for the academic competition. The national case, released at midnight April 1, dates to 1914 and centered around the Elite Theatre, a popular vaudeville venue in Athens that was owned by two friends, Big Bob Oakley and Henry Bascombe. The case involved bits of Georgia history, including the fact that Athens has long been home to musical innovation and inspiration. 

In 1984, the Nebraska team from Ogallala High School won first place at the inaugural “All-State” tournament.  At the NHSMTC in 2013, the Skutt Catholic High School finished 3rd in the nation and was undefeated after 4 rounds of competition.  In 2015, Duchesne Academy won the national championship and in 2016, Duchesne placed 2nd in the nation.  The 2019 National Championship was sponsored by the State Bar of Georgia and its Young Lawyers Division. In May 2020, the NHSMTC will be held in Evansville, Indiana.

The Bar Foundation’s Case Committee, which consists of Nebraska attorneys and judges, research and author an original case each year. Cases alternate between criminal and civil.

The Nebraska State Bar Foundation is dedicated to serving the citizens of Nebraska and the legal profession through the administration and funding of innovative and creative programs directed toward the improvement of the administration of justice and the fulfillment of the American vision of equal justice for all.