Pavlicek helps judge Statewide Mock Trial Competition

COLUMBIA, SOUTH CAROLINA – Attorney Jax Pavlicek was part of a four-person panel that judged the state Middle School Mock Trial Competition.

The two-day event, held in Lexington County Dec. 5 and 6, culminated months of work for 12 teams from middle schools across the state. Teams of six to 16 students, from public, private, and home schools, began work in August when details of the new case were announced.

The annual program is sponsored by the South Carolina Bar Law Related Education Committee, of which Pavlicek is a partner. She has also served an assistant coach and volunteer judge for the University of South Carolina School of Law’s Trial Advocacy Bar.

“All of the teams were just phenomenal,” said Pavlicek, who also judged the Midlands Regional Competition in November. “The amount of work that goes into preparation is impressive, and the students’ poise under pressure is even more remarkable.”

She said students learn about far more than the law as they prepare for the competition. They also develop organization, critical thinking and communications skills—all of which are essential in today’s work force.

During the competition, students present the prosecution and defense sides of a fictional case. This year’s scenario, State of New Harmony v. Charlie Spencer, involved accusations that Spencer had destroyed another fisherman’s boat after the two had a noisy and physical confrontation.

Students are given case packets that include pleadings, criminal statutes, witness affidavits, and more to use as they prepare their cases.  In addition to playing the roles of attorneys, the students play the defendant, witnesses, bailiffs and timekeepers. The students are judged on their presentation skills, rather than the legal merits of the case.

Forest Brook Middle School, of Myrtle Beach, won the competition. Dent Middle, Heathwood Hall Episcopal and Hand Middle represented Columbia.

Pavlicek enter private practice after nearly two years as a staff attorney for the South Carolina Court of Appeals. At Burnette Shutt & McDaniel, her practice focuses on appellate work and litigation. She’s also a Mock Trial alumnus, competing in national competitions at the law-school level during her studies at the University of South Carolina School of Law.