Promoting an understanding and appreciation
of the American judicial system through
academic competitions and other endeavors for students

General Information

The national mock trial championship was initiated in 1984 in Des Moines, Iowa, with teams from Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska and Wisconsin participating. After the success of the tournament in Iowa, more states became interested in participating and the tournament became billed as an "All-State" Tournament. The competition then moved to Lincoln, Nebraska (1985) and involved 10 states.

Subsequent tournaments have been held in:

  • Phoenix, Arizona (1986)
  • Washington, D.C. (1987)
  • Dallas, Texas (1988)
  • Louisville, Kentucky (1989) - the first "National High School Mock Trial Championship"
  • Portland, Oregon (1990)
  • New Orleans, Louisiana (1991)
  • Madison, Wisconsin (1992)
  • Atlanta, Georgia (1993)
  • Chicago, Illinois (1994)
  • Denver, Colorado (1995)
  • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (1996)
  • Nashville, Tennessee (1997)
  • Albuquerque, New Mexico (1998)
  • St. Louis, Missouri (1999)
  • Columbia, South Carolina (2000)
  • Omaha, Nebraska (2001)
  • St. Paul, Minnesota (2002)
  • New Orleans, Louisiana (2003)
  • Orlando, Florida (2004)
  • Charlotte, North Carolina (2005)
  • Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (2006)
  • Dallas, Texas (2007)
  • Wilmington, Delaware (2008)
  • Atlanta, Georgia (2009)
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (2010)
  • Phoenix, Arizona (2011)
  • Albuquerque, New Mexico (2012)
  • Indianapolis, Indiana (2013)
  • Madison, Wisconsin (2014)
  • Raleigh, North Carolina (2015)
  • Boise, Idaho (2016)
  • Hartford, Connecticut (2017) 

The tournament is hosted annually by different states to ensure that the cost of running the tournament doesn't fall disproportionately on any particular state.

This year's competition in Hartford, Connecticut included a total of 46 teams, including Guam, South Korea, the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands, and State Champion teams from across the country.

Membership and Tournament Registration Fee

As a reminder, in order to be eligible to participate at Nationals, each state, territory or country is required to pay a Membership Fee. The fee is $250 and is due by January 15th. This membership fee is separate and in addition to a team's $500 tournament registration fee.

Both fees are required for participation in the tournament. The funds collected through this membership fee have been earmarked specifically for costs borne by NHSMTC, Inc. for hosting or aiding in the hosting of the national championship.

Payment of the $250 Membership Fee must be made payable to NHSMTC and mailed to the NHSMTC Treasurer at the address shown here.


The National High School Mock Trial Championship traditionally has been held over Mother´s Day weekend each year for over two decades. The schedule devised for the tournament was created and is currently in use in an effort to:

  • maximize the participation of state mock trial programs across the nation and around the world
  • maintain a level playing field for all teams registered for the competition
  • maintain the integrity of the scoring system
  • minimize time out of class for students and teachers
  • minimize conflict with academic testing
  • maximize the availability of real courtroom space for tournament rounds
  • maximize the availability of judging panel volunteers with the requisite high school mock trial experience
  • maximize the number of potential future host cities
  • maximize the availability of a large block of hotel space during the busy spring convention/prom/tourist season in many cities

Over three years of planning on the part of each host committee goes into each national tournament. The identities of the full field of competitors are not known until mid-April in the year that the tournament is held in early May. During the three years a host committee prepares to host the national tournament, state coordinators are provided with planning updates and schedule information in the bi-annual tournament newsletter, on the NHSMTC website, on a dedicated tournament host committee website and by verbal reports to the state coordinators gathered for the organization´s annual business meeting each May. State mock trial programs are fully aware of each national tournament schedule well in advance of starting their state mock trial season each school year.

The Generic National Tournament Schedule

Wednesday of Tournament Week

  • (all day) Practice/Scrimmage rooms available at the host hotel (optional for all teams)

Thursday of Tournament Week

  • (all day) Practice/Scrimmage rooms available at the host hotel (optional for all teams)
  • (morning) NHSMTC, Inc. Board of Directors Meeting (required attendance for board members)
  • (afternoon) State Coordinator’s Round Table Discussion (optional attendance for state coordinators)
  • (afternoon) State Coordinator’s Meeting (required attendance for state coordinators)
  • (afternoon) Coach Orientation Meeting (attendance strongly suggested for at least 1 coach/team)
  • (afternoon) Timekeeper Orientation (required attendance for all student timekeepers)
  • (evening) Team Welcome Reception/Pin Exchange (official opening event of the national tournament for teams)

Friday of Tournament Week

  • (morning) Preliminary Round 1
  • (afternoon) Preliminary Round 2
  • (evening) Team Social Event

Saturday of Tournament Week

  • (morning) Preliminary Round 3
  • (afternoon) Preliminary Round 4
  • (afternoon) Announcement of Two Finalist Teams
  • (afternoon/evening) Championship Round
  • (evening) Awards Banquet

Sunday of Tournament Week

  • (morning) Team scoresheets available for pick-up

Thank you to our sponsors who make the NHSMTC possible!

ABOTA Foundation

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