NALSA Pro Bono Project Teaches High School Students About Trial Practice Through Mock Trial Competition
March 30, 2021
The Native American Law Student Association (NALSA) recently coached the Lakeside High School Trial Team in the Idaho High School Mock Trial Competition. The event was hosted by the Idaho Law Foundation. NALSA participated at the request of the Coeur d’Alene Tribal Council and Professor Dylan Hedden-Nicely who recruited Professor Sam Newton to help coach law students and trial team members.
Lakeside High School is located on the Coeur d’Alene reservation and the competition took place over Zoom.
NALSA members coached the trial team under the leadership of 3L Winter Hayes, a Nez Perce tribal member who plans to graduate in May. High school students were recruited by NALSA members and the program was planned by Shaina Nomee of the University of Idaho Extension along with the Lakeside School District. Coaches included 2Ls Andrea Brown, Brianne Drury, Dory Goldberg (Navajo), and Jeanette Moody (Nez Perce).
Each high school student learned how to conduct a trial from opening to closing statements. Tsones Nomee and Emily Gankema were the attorneys in the competition and witnesses included Alexxus Allen, Kyra Baldwin, Maryah Erickson and Danielle Vassar. The competition allowed each student to gain valuable experience in public speaking, teamwork, and building self-confidence. Coaches celebrated the trial team participants in front of Lakeside’s student body and encouraged the student body to attend college and possibly law school. Through their presentation, law students shared why they chose law school and encouraged the students to join the trial team next year.
This was a pro bono project for NALSA that the group hopes will inspire Idaho youth to attend college. It also gives students an opportunity to have a law student mentor and learn what lawyers do, as well as starting a pipeline to law school program to foster the relationship between Lakeside High School and the Native American Law (NAL) Program.
This opportunity was a success thanks to the help of the Lakeside School District staff, Shaina Nomee, Megan Marshall, Professor Hedden-Nicely, Professor Sam Newton, Garrett Brown, ‘20, the law student coaches, and each high school participant who dedicated the time to learn their roles. NAL and NALSA look forward to continuing this collaboration and partnership next year.