History of Tennessee High School Mock Trial

The Tennessee State High School Mock Trial Competition strives to give students a fuller understanding of the American justice system by allowing them to experience the legal process first hand. Through role playing as lawyers, witnesses, plaintiffs and defendants, students develop an awareness and appreciation for the mechanism our society has chosen to resolve its disputes. Some students even have been known to choose a career in law based on their mock trial experience. The Tennessee High School Mock Trial Competition is organized, hosted and judged by members of the Tennessee Bar Association Young Lawyers Division (YLD). As a public service project of the YLD, there is no charge for teams to compete in the state mock trial competition.

The competition dates back to 1980 when the first high school mock trial was held in Knox County. The following year, in an effort to take the competition state-wide, the Tennessee Bar Association Young Lawyers Division was asked to host the high school mock trial as a law-related education public service project. Participation has increased from an initial four schools the first year to well over 100 schools today.

The state competition is an intense, two-day event in which each team participates in a minimum of four trial rounds. Team rankings are determined by points acquired and rounds won in a “power-match” system. Only teams advancing from their district competition will be eligible to participate at the state competition in Nashville.

Tennessee’s state champion is eligible to participate in the National High School Mock Trial Championship. Tennessee can be proud of its teams' performance at the national level. The state championship team won both the 2002 and 2003 National Mock Trial Championships, becoming the first team ever to repeat in winning the title. In 2004, the Tennessee team placed in the top 10.

Previous state winners


1980 Austin-East High School
1981 Bearden High School
1982 White Station High School
1983 White Station High School
1984 Knoxville West High School
1985 Father Ryan High School
1986 Knoxville Doyle High School
1987 Greeneville High School
1988 Memphis Central High School
1989 Jackson Central Merry High School
1990 Father Ryan High School
1991 Father Ryan High School
1992 Franklin High School
1993 Montgomery Bell Academy
1994 McCallie School
1995 Montgomery Bell Academy
1996 Clinton High School
1997 Clinton High School
1998 Houston High School
1999 Clinton High School
2000 Clinton High School
2001 Clinton High School
2002 Family Christian Academy*
2003 Family Christian Academy*
2004 Hume-Fogg Academic Magnet
2005 Hume-Fogg Academic Magnet
2006 Knoxville West High School
2007 St. Mary’s Episcopal High School
2008 St. Mary’s Episcopal High School
2009 White Station High School
2010 White Station High School
2011 White Station High School

* indicates a team that also won the National Championship