The goal of the Judicial Program is to expose Missouri youth to the judicial process, from participation in trials as attorneys, to developing leadership skills through mentoring and serving as Judges in those trials.
The Judicial Program uses an appellate court structure for its trial format. At the beginning of the program year, the case is made available online. Students will prepare for the State Conference using this case. The trials at the State Conference are competitive. Trial teams are evaluated during each trial, and the entire conference culminates with the semifinals and final rounds on Saturday morning. Trial teams advance based on these evaluations, which are done by adult advisors and student judges.
At the State Conference, all trial teams will conduct at least two trials, one for each side of the case. If the scheduled permits, teams will conduct a third trial. Only the top score for a side will be counted for a team. For example, if a team tries the Petitioner side once and the Respondent side twice, only their top Respondent score will be counted to determine if the team advances to the semifinals. The program culminates with the final round on Saturday morning, with the winning side announced at the Closing Session of the State Conference.
Students have the opportunity to serve in one of two roles: attorney and judge.
- Attorney: This is the default role for all students within the Judicial Program. Students form trial teams within their delegation, made up of two to four attorneys. The team prepares both sides of the case, and will try both sides at the State Conference.
- Judge: Students may apply to serve as a judge. Qualifications for judge can be found in the Student Leadership Guide. To apply, students must do so by the stated deadline. Judges are selected by the State Office, in consultation with the Program Coordinators and Presiding Officers. Some judges will also serve as an attorney on a trial team, if needed.
The Judicial program requires preparation before the State Conference on the part of each student in order to be successful. When you come to the State Conference, students need to be well prepared to try the case. The Judicial Program Guide provides an explanation of how the program works.
- Google Drive with Judicial Resources
- Judicial Program Guide: Provides an overview of the program, along with detailed information about the appellate court structure. This guide should be reviewed by all advisors and students prior to getting started on trial preparation.
- 2023 Appellate Case: Case that all students should use in preparation for the State Conference. This file includes the case law to be used in developing arguments for both sides of the trial.
- Past Cases: Cases from the past few years are online for students to use as practice cases.
Any student in 9-12 grade is eligible to participate in the Judicial Program.
- Participants must complete the Student Registration Form on the YAG website by the stated deadline to participate at the State Conference.
- Students must work with a trial team in their delegation to prepare for the State Conference.