High school students can experience 'Moot Court' through Learning Center program

This summer, high school students can experience what it’s like to argue a case before the Michigan Supreme Court, thanks to a program being offered by the Court’s Learning Center.

Rachael Drenovsky, the Learning Center’s coordinator, explained the program features participation in a moot court, in which participants prepare and argue a case.

“The goal is to have the participants experience what it’s like to argue a case before the Supreme Court,” she said. “They not only learn about the legal system, but also sharpen the skills a good lawyer needs: reasoning, writing, and oral presentation.”

The moot court case involves threats on social media. Participants will discuss what protections the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution provides and consider how to define when online ranting or threats become a crime.

Participants will learn and practice skills that lawyers use as they prepare and present the case, playing the roles of attorneys and justices to develop arguments and court opinions. Students meet and work with attorneys and other legal professionals; presenters will include members of the judiciary. The program will be held at the Michigan Hall of Justice in Lansing.

The sessions, “Exploring Careers in the Law,” are open to students entering grades 10 through 12 in fall 2015, and 2015 graduates. Participants meet July 20–24 from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. each day. The application deadline is May 29, 2015. The registration fee is a $75 donation to the Michigan Supreme Court Historical Society Learning Center Fund.

The Michigan Supreme Court Learning Center is a museum-like education center for the general public, designed for everyone from elementary students to adults, about Michigan's judicial branch of government.

Currently on display, through July 31, is a commemorative exhibit about the Michigan Court of Appeals turning 50.

The gallery is filled with activities and exhibits, including a mock courtroom, computer programs, quizzes, challenges, and traditional text panels. The Learning Center holds student programs each summer.

Registration for “Exploring Careers in the Law” is limited to 22 participants, selected on a first-come, first-served basis. Contact Rachael L. Drenovsky at 517-373-5027 or drenovskyr@courts.mi.gov.

Those wishing to register online may visit http://courts.mi.gov/education/learning-center/Documents/MootCtApplication.pdf