Young Students Learn From Armenian Bar Trial Advocacy Coaches
For the fifth year, the Armenian Bar Association has facilitated a program consisting of its own volunteer members to teach and train Armenian high school and middle school students for the annual Constitutional Rights Foundation (CRF) Mock Trial Program. These volunteer attorneys, consisting of prosecutors, defense attorneys, and other types of practitioners, work to introduce school educators and students to the program and, more importantly, they serve as hands-on helpful coaches.
Following months of after-school training regimens and intensive practice sessions, the latest installment of the CRF competition in Los Angeles County culminated in November 2019 in lifelike courtroom proceedings. Each school assembled a team of litigation participants for a criminal law case whose common fact pattern formed the basis of the presentations. In head-to-head competitions presided over by actual sitting judges and eminent lawyers, the students assumed the roles of prosecutors, defense attorneys, witnesses and bailiffs.
The participating schools are AGBU Manoogian-Demirdjian School (both middle and high schools); Manoukian High School; and Mesrobian Armenian School (both middle and high school teams). Special thanks to our attorney-coaches: MDS Middle School – Tony Forberg and Janine Soukasian; MDS High School – Rouman Ebrahim, Naris Khalatian, Armen Mitilian and Aslin Tutuyan; MHS – Ani Papirian; Mesrobian Middle School – Ashod Mooradian; Mesrobian High School – Alexandra Kazarian and Ashod Mooradian. Judge Armenui Ashvanian has provided additional support to the students with courtroom visits, and meetings with the Offices of the District Attorney and Public Defender. She has also helped prepare students with scrimmages leading up to the competition.
In 1980, the CRF introduced the Mock Trial program, which already had a strong following in Los Angeles County, to all the counties in California. The program was created to help students acquire a working knowledge of the judicial system, develop analytical abilities and communication skills, and gain an understanding of their obligations and responsibilities as participating members of our society. The program currently involves 36 California counties, hundreds of schools, and thousands of students.