Some of the best young litigators were on display last weekend as part of the High School Mock Trial Competition sponsored by the Jefferson County Young Lawyers Association and Region V.
Kelly High School, one of the more dominant participants year in and year out, flexed its argumentative muscles again this year, winning the competition and by doing so, advancing to the state competition in Dallas the first week in March. For winning the local competition, the Kelly team is awarded a $2,500 scholarship to cover travel expenses to the state competition.
Kelly beat out two other local schools – West Brook and Central – on its way to claiming another crown. Vidor, who was also scheduled to compete, couldn’t make it because of a few sicknesses that claimed key members of the team.
Kelly won by litigating a mock civil case before attorneys and judges at the Jefferson County Courthouse.
Sheigh Summerlin, an attorney out of Port Arthur and president of the Jefferson County Young Lawyers Association, said she was extremely pleased with the talent that was on display inside Judge John Stevens’ courtroom Saturday, Feb. 4, despite the small number of competitors.
“These kids have so many things going on, so it’s hard for them to find time for different activities,” said Summerlin, a criminal defense and family law attorney who’s been practicing law the past six years. Summerlin said one of the priorities for next year is to reach out to schools like Port Neches-Groves, Lumberton, Ozen and Nederland and encourage them to participate in the event.
While Kelly took home the team prize, there were individual awards handed as well, and as she’s done in previous years, West Brook senior Caroline Fluke took home the title for Best Advocate. “She is outstanding,” Summerlin said of Fluke.
West Brook’s Aaron Strawser and Kelly’s Allen Brannon tied for Best Witness. All three students will receive scholarships.