KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The Knoxville Bar Association is seeking volunteers for this year’s annual mock trial competition for East Tennessee high schoolers.

The Barristers, the Young Lawyer’s Division of the Knoxville Bar Association, hosts the Regional High School Mock Trail Competition for 22 counties in East Tennessee. The counties are split into three competition districts. District 2 covers Anderson, Campbell, Claiborne, Cocke, Fentress, Grainger, Jefferson, Scott, Sevier and Union County. Knox County makes up District 3 and District 4 contains Bledsoe, Blount, Bradley, Loudon, McMinn, Meigs, Monroe, Morgan, Polk, Rhea and Roane.

Volunteers, comprised of East Tennessee law school students, attorneys, and judges, serve as the bailiffs, scoring judges, and presiding judges during the competition. However, the bar association said that they have seen a drop in volunteers for the competition.

“Volunteer participation in this wonderful program is lower than it once was. As young lawyers, our goal is to do everything we can to spread the word about this unique, beneficial, and all-around fun opportunity for our East Tennessee high school students,” reads a release from KBA.

Those interested in volunteering are encouraged to click here to sign up.

According to KBA, a mock trial is a wonderful way for high school students to gain a fuller understanding of the United State’s legal system. Through the competition, the students are given the chance to experience the legal process firsthand. During the competition, students on each team will act as plaintiffs, defense lawyers and witnesses.

“The experiences garnered through high school mock trial programs have inspired many young competitors to pursue a legal career; unsurprisingly, several Barristers members are former mock trial competitors. High school budget cuts around the country continue to increase, diminishing available funding for civic engagement courses and extracurriculars,” reads a release from the bar association.

For this year’s competition, students will be given the fictional case of Kat McNable, who was thrown from his electric scooter when he encountered the sand spilling from Defendant’s beach-themed party wagon. To see the full details of the problem and rules, click here.

The competition will take place at the Knoxville City-County Building on Friday, February 24 (Round 1) and Saturday, February 25 (Rounds 2 – 4). On Sunday, February 26, the Regional Championship will be held in the Business Courtroom at LMU’s Duncan School of Law.

The winners of the regional competition will advance to the state-wide tournament in Nashville on March 17-18, 2023.

It is free for students to enter the regional competition, to learn more about how to enter, click here. The winner of the 2022 state-wide tournament was Montgomery Bell Academy located in Nashville. The last time an East Tennessee school won the state-wide tournament was Knoxville West High School in 2006.