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Courtroom in the Classroom Program

The Courtroom in the Classroom Program is the Ninth District Court of Appeals' educational outreach program.  It provides high school students in Lorain, Medina, Summit, and Wayne Counties with hands-on experience in how the Ohio judicial system works and illustrates how disputes are resolved in a democratic society.  The Judges travel to high schools to hear oral arguments at each location.  These are not mock or simulated oral arguments.  These are actual oral arguments involving real cases pending before the Court that will lead to a decision from the Court. 

The Judges enjoy traveling to different high schools, meeting a diverse mix of students, and educating the public about their work.  Cases are chosen by specifically targeting the interests of students.


Court visit schedule

Oral arguments are held in the morning.  The formal event begins with opening remarks welcoming the audience and explaining the format of the proceedings.  The Court normally hears six oral arguments during each session, but, to accommodate the needs of a school, the judges generally hear a reduced schedule of cases.  The Court can attempt to arrange a question and answer session between the students and participating lawyers after the oral arguments.  The entire visit generally lasts no more than three hours.

 

Benefits to the school

The Courtroom in the Classroom Program provides a unique learning opportunity for all involved.  The Court brings the judicial process to students who might otherwise never witness it in action.  This provides a chance for teachers and students to witness actual court cases and view the appellate process in progress.  It is also an opportunity for students to meet and interact with lawyers and judges.  The Court will provide the school with background information about the Court, the specific cases to be argued, and teaching materials to prepare the students for the visit.

The Judges hope to visit schools where there is interest by school teachers, students, and administrators.  The Court's goal is to expose as many students and communities to our program as possible.  The Court will also return to schools it has already visited, especially if significant time has passed since the last visit.  You can learn more about the Court's past visits by clicking here.

 

School requirements

The most important requirement is that the teachers and students be interested in and excited about the visit.  The Court will provide the school with information about the cases to be argued and with curricular material for teachers to use when talking with students about the Court's visit.  The school is responsible for preparing the students so they can get the most out of the visit. The Court will need an area in which it can hold oral arguments.  The Court's basic needs are a place for three judges to sit, preferably on a raised platform, two tables for attorneys to sit during the oral argument, and a podium.  The judges also require a room in which they can meet before and after the oral arguments.  The Court would also want to make arrangements for a security officer to be present during the oral arguments.

The Court asks that a representative of the school serve as the school's liaison with the Court.  This person will need to make sure that the area used for oral arguments is ready and meets the Court's requirements.  The Court will take care of setting the cases and contacting the lawyers.  The Court does not expect the school to incur any significant expenses for the visit.

Benefits to the students

The students will enjoy this experience of a lifetime.  Among countless benefits, we expect that your students will learn the importance of the rule of law.  They will see how our democratic society resolves disputes.  They will experience the appellate process firsthand.  They will learn about the role and responsibilities of judges.  They will learn about courtroom etiquette and how attorneys argue without being argumentative.  These are but a few of the benefits to students who can participate in this program.

Of course, there is a benefit to the judges and attorneys.  The judges enjoy meeting the students and hearing their comments about the process and talking about the judicial process in Ohio.  And the attorneys enjoy talking with students about their cases, how they became attorneys, and how they prepared for the oral argument.

 

Want to learn more?

To learn more about the Courtroom in the Classroom Program, contact the Court Administrator, C. Michael Walsh, at (330) 643-2250 or cmwalsh@ninth.courts.state.oh.us.  We can discuss arrangements to bring the Court to your school.