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“Mock Trial shaped the person I am today.”

Mock Trial is a program that allows students to learn about our legal system by researching case law and arguing legal issues. Teams compete around the state in drama-filled courtroom performances that are rated by real judges and lawyers.

The Mock Trial program at Jefferson Community Center aims to familiarize all team members with the law system and their rights as a citizen. Students receive community service hours for each practice they attend.The Jefferson Community Center team is coached by Seattle Parks Recreation Leader Jean Lee. It is the only team in King County not associated with a school.

Learn how the program impacted Dickson T. Chen, a participant in the 2012-2014 cohort:

Like any high school student trying to navigate his way through his pre-college year, I was very open minded to trying new things and molding my perspective on life with new experiences. One experience that I will cherish forever is joining Mock Trial, specifically with Jefferson Community Center.

My decision to join Mock Trial was a unique one. Currently at UCLA, I am studying to become a pediatric neurosurgeon. Back in high school, I knew that I was always interested in becoming a medical doctor, not a lawyer. This fact is what makes my decision of participating in Mock Trial even more unique as many who participate in Mock Trial end up pursuing some type of law profession. Knowing that I never wanted to pursue law, it was astonishing to see how my participation in Mock Trial shaped the person I am today.

What is often misconstrued about Mock Trial is that a pre-requisite interest in law is required. While beneficial, it’s not required. Without an interest in law, I took away many things away from my participation in Mock Trial, experiences that have built the qualities and morals that I believe in today. The activities that come with Mock Trial allowed me to break out of my reticent shell. Mock Trial involves a lot of role playing and acting. Through my two years of participation, I blossomed into a confident individual.

In addition, Mock Trial also provided important lessons about our paralegal process. This was the first time I was ever introduced to the procedures and happenings in a courtroom. I was able to learn about rebuttals, objections, and how the judicial system is structured, starting from our local to our national justice systems. This exposure is great for those pursuing law, but even for regular citizens. With these lessons, I was also able to learn about my fundamental human rights. Unfortunately, my high school never offered classes that provided this information, which was why I was so fortunate to participate in Mock Trial from 2012-2014, especially in the 2013-2014 year when I had the honor of serving as the captain of two spectacular teams.

With amazing coaches like Russell Odell and an amazing administrative team that follows the lead of Jean Lee, the program was immensely important in sculpting the person I am today. It transformed my perspective of the world, taught me the importance of open-mindedness, and has inspired me to maintain my connection with the community that I was raised in. Whether you are interested in law, or simply just wanted to get your feet wet to explore potential interests and passions, give Mock Trial a chance. I promise you won’t regret it.
Dickson T. Chen

Dickson T. Chen, 2012-2014 Mock Trial participant


For information about the Jefferson Community Center’s Mock Trial program, please call the center at 206-684 – 7481