A message from Glenn A. Grant, acting administrative director of the courts.
Former Chief Justice Richard J. Hughes once said that the courts are on “a never-ending search for improvement in service to the people.”
Our Judiciary has embraced this ideal of educating the larger public on the importance of the work courts. These outreach efforts take place in many different forums throughout the year.
Interestingly, the court’s public outreach efforts aren’t limited to adults.
One of our most significant outreach efforts is the high school mock trial program. Sponsored by the New Jersey Bar Foundation, the mock trial program gives students a first-hand look at our court system.
The preliminary rounds were co-sponsored by each of the 21 county bar associations. Mainland Regional High School in Atlantic County won the state championship March 31. They will compete in the American Mock Trial Invitational in New Brunswick from May 17 to May 19 at the New Jersey Law Center in New Brunswick.
While the student on each high school team serve as jurors, witnesses and lawyers, New Jersey’s state and municipal judges and attorneys donate their time and expertise by serving as judges and coaches.
This year, Chief Justice Stuart Rabner also participated, saying, “The remarkable mock trial program developed by the State Bar is an important investment in our children. Many judges and attorneys participate in mock trials and other law-related educational programs around the state, and I am delighted to join them."
The Judiciary enthusiastically supports mock trials as a way to teach students about our court system, legal practices and procedures and to help them develop critical thinking and public speaking skills that will serve them well as adults – and perhaps interest them in a career in the law.
As Thomas Jefferson observed, “An informed citizenry is the bulwark of a democracy.”
Our Judiciary is constantly exploring ways to better inform and educate the public as to how our court system operates, not only as a matter of customer service, but also to maintain the public’s trust and belief in our work.