Sacramento County Bar Foundation Supports NP3 Mock Trial Program
by Stephen Duvernay
Each year, the Sacramento County Bar Foundation issues grants to organizations in the Sacramento region that improve the administration of justice, enhance public confidence in the legal profession, cultivate understanding of and respect for the rule of law, and support law-related public services. Last year, the Foundation issued three grants: $4,000 to the Natomas Pacific Pathways Preparatory High School mock trial program, $2,000 to the Center for Workers’ Rights, and $2,000 to the Sacramento Justice League. Over the coming months, the Foundation will be highlighting each of these organizations in the pages of Sacramento Lawyer.
First up is Natomas Pacific Pathways Preparatory High School’s mock trial program. The school – commonly known as “NP3” – is a law-themed public charter high school in Natomas, which first opened in 2006 with 80 students and has since grown to over 600 students. The school’s competitive mock trial team exposes students to the legal profession and builds critical skills. According to NP3 teacher and mock trial coach Staci Osborn, the program “provides students with exposure to the legal field and criminal justice system, and the students benefit from learning public-speaking skills and working as a team outside of the usual classroom environment. The challenging, competitive environment builds self-confidence in our students, and they love it.”
Beyond these skills, Osborn notes that there are broader benefits of the program, including the opportunity to travel for scrimmages and competitions. “Traveling to other high schools in other regions of California allows our students to meet students from different backgrounds and experiences from their own,” Osborn explained. “Many of NP3’s students have never left Sacramento. Scrimmages in the Bay Area and Southern California give students the chance to see the state – and to tour colleges to expose students to the variety of campuses and experiences that they can have after high school.” In addition to the courtroom experience, students also learn about professionalism, including the “dos and don’ts” of professional dress.
To that end, the Foundation’s grant funds have been used to support travel and help provide courtroom attire for the students. Jakob Franco, NP3 senior and mock trial attorney, is thankful for the assistance. “The mock trial program has greatly helped me with my public speaking and critical thinking skills, and this grant has greatly expanded this experience with scrimmage trips to the Bay Area and San Diego,” said Franco.
NP3’s efforts have paid off. In December, NP3 hosted a scrimmage against Menlo School’s mock trial team at the Superior Court, with Judges Morrison England, Troy Nunley, and Jaime Román presiding. Menlo mock trial is a perennial heavyweight, and the defending Northern California champion. NP3’s students were happy with their performance. “Having the opportunity to travel in order to compete with higher-ranked teams has been incredibly rewarding,” said NP3 senior Isabel Penman. “As a team, we’ve been able to take away valuable tips and practice from the experiences that we otherwise wouldn’t have.”
NP3 Mock Trial will be hosting a fundraising dinner at Pacific McGeorge on Thursday, March 14. Further information can be found on the team’s website, https://sites.google.com/natomasunified.org/np3law/about/mock-trial, or by contacting Staci Osborn at email@example.com.
The Sacramento County Bar Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation. To volunteer, make a contribution, or for more information about the SCBF, visit its website at http://www.sacramentolawfoundation.org/