In 1983, leaders from the Ohio State Bar Association, the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio Foundation, and Ohio Attorney General Anthony Celebrezze came together to explore creation of educational programs designed to fill a significant void in law-related education for Ohio’s high school students. This alliance strongly believed partnerships between the educational and legal communities could effectively educate students about their constitutional rights and responsibilities and together founded Ohio Mock Trial. The Supreme Court of Ohio, another significant proponent of civics and law-related education, joined the partnership as a program sponsor in 1988.
From its inception, the Ohio Mock Trial program has maintained a three-pronged focus—original case materials created annually based on pertinent constitutional issues created annually, generation of professional development designed to prepare Ohio’s teachers to effectively engage students, and administration of the statewide Ohio Mock Trial competition.
With steady growth following its inception, Ohio Mock Trial continues to be the largest non-athletic competition in Ohio, and among the largest in the country—hosting nearly 3,500 student participants from schools throughout the state each year. More than 1,000 teachers and legal professionals volunteer their time and expertise to make this program possible by serving as team legal advisors, case and competition committee members, competition judges and site coordinators. The state champion team represents Ohio at the national competition.
As student participation in Ohio Mock Trial continued to expand, schools, lawyers, and judges sought additional opportunities for students to enhance critical thinking, public speaking, advocacy, research, and writing skills. Sponsors of Ohio Mock Trial formally supported the expansion of educational programs and in 1989 established the Ohio Center for Law-Related Education (OCLRE).
With this expansion, OCLRE became part of a national law-related education network and quickly developed critical programs and services including publication of a newsletter with a circulation of 10,000, creation of professional development programs and resource opportunities for educators, and development of new original and authentic learning experiences for Ohio’s students.
Today, with participation of teachers and students from more than 70 Ohio counties, and more than 1,500 volunteers annually, OCLRE is among the largest state law-related education programs in the United States, and continues to provide critical programs focused on civics and law-related education.
OCLRE is proud to provide unique professional development for educators, hands-on learning programs for students, and statewide opportunities for positive community engagement.
Mission: To improve society by developing citizens empowered with an understanding of our democratic system
Purpose: Educating and empowering Ohio’s youth to be active members and protectors of our democracy
Core values: Quality service to educators • Excellence in programming • Motivating our future leaders